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BellSouth to Sell Stakes in Latin America

March 09, 2004|From Associated Press

BellSouth Corp. agreed to sell its stake in 10 Latin American operations to a wireless unit of Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica for about $4.2 billion in cash and the assumption of $1.5 billion in debt.

BellSouth said Monday that the deal would allow it to focus on its domestic business. Proceeds from the sale also would help fund BellSouth's $16-billion share of last month's deal to acquire AT&T Wireless. BellSouth owns 40% of Cingular, and SBC Communications Inc. owns 60%.

Telefonica Moviles would acquire BellSouth's stakes in its operators in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama, making it the only cellular operator in all the key Latin American markets. Telefonica would gain 10.5 million customers, giving it a total of 62.5 million customers.

BellSouth shares fell 4 cents to $28.80 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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