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Justice clears Bell-GTE
May 7, 1999: 1:18 p.m. ET

Justice Department orders divestiture of overlapping services in nine states
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - The U.S. Department of Justice gave a regulatory thumbs up Friday to the merger of telecoms Bell Atlantic and GTE.
     In granting approval, the Justice Department said Bell Atlantic (BEL) and GTE (GTE) must sell overlapping wireless phone interests in nine states.
     Bell Atlantic said no other conditions were imposed on the merger. The company said the DOJ rejected various arguments against the merger, including many that still are being considered by the Federal Communications Commission and various state agencies.
     In a statement, James R. Young, Bell Atlantic executive vice president and general counsel, said, "Some of the department's best antitrust attorneys were dedicated to our merger and gave it a clean bill of health."
     William P. Barr, GTE's executive vice president and general counsel, said, "This merger promises a new era in consumer choice for telecommunications products and services, fulfulling the pro-competitive vision embodied in the Telecommunications Act of 1996."
     The two companies last July unveiled what was then a $53 billion merger of Northeast power Bell Atlantic with Irving, Texas-based GTE, which has local access lines scattered throughout the country. Bell Atlantic had been barred from offering long-distance services to its customers.
     Bell Atlantic was up 1-9/16 at 57-7/16 in early afternoon trading. GTE was up 2-1/4 at 66-1/2. Back to top


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