December 31, 2006

A year-end merger

2006 ends with announcement of regulatory approval of a large telecom merger: AT&T and BellSouth. All that’s missing in the new AT&T to recreate the old MaBell is Verizon and the equipment business of Lucent (now in French hands).

Does the recombination make sense? Only time will. But an analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Blair Levin, has raised some important questions about how important it is to be such a large company. In filings with the FCC, he said:

“AT&T argued that it needed scale to compete, invest and innovate. Yet its competition amounts to 400 small Internet phone companies."

"If scale really is important, they are the only ones who are ever going to have it. Game over."

"And if there are other attributes that make a successful company, do you need scale?"

Good questions to end the year with.


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