EC gives green light to BT/AT&T alliance

EC gives green light to BT/AT&T alliance
Alex Mayhew-Smith The proposed alliance of BT and AT&T, one of the biggest deals of 1998, has been given the go-ahead by the European Commission (EC). The deal, which is expected to create a joint venture with a $10bn yearly turnover, has yet to be cleared by the US Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission, the US version of Oftel. A BT spokesman said: “We do not foresee any problems with the US clearance. The European agreement was always going to be the difficult one.” US approval is expected in the next couple of months, said BT, with the joint venture being set up from the autumn. The EC said: “The current state of competition in these international markets offered the necessary environment to enable the venture to go forward.” The clearance was given after AT&T agreed to sell its UK subsidiary ACC UK and establish greater separation from Telewest, in which AT&T is to have a 22 per cent stake after its takeover of TCI Communications. The joint venture is intended to offer a range of data and telecommunications services to multinational companies and will include BT’s existing venture in the market, Concert Communications.


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