US telecom giants sign $67b merger deal

US telecom giant AT&T is buying BellSouth for $67 billion in stock, in a bid that further consolidates the telecom industry, an Associated Press report said.


The report said the merged company would have 70 million local-line phone customers and nearly 10 million broadband subscribers in the 22 states where they now operated.


The deal appeared to be the largest yet among US telecom players, the report said.


In 1999, MCI WorldCom agreed to buy Sprint for an even larger sum, $115 billion, but federal regulators blocked that deal.


The sale, which was subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, would give AT&T total control over BellSouth's nine-state network and its share of Cingular, the report said.