The Baby Bells Grow Up

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NEW YORK: In the second-largest corporate merger in history, two more Baby Bells have agreed to join in a deal that would create the nation's second-largest phone company. Bell Atlantic and Nynex announced the $23 billion deal Monday, three weeks after SBC Communications and Pacific Telesis unveiled their merger plans. Both mergers were given the green light after President Clinton signed a sweeping deregulation of the telecommunications industry into law two months ago. "In the aftermath of deregulation, these two large companies are trying to manouver in an exceptional communication and media world," says TIME's Michael Krantz. "By merging, they can more effectively withstand competition from cable, wireless, long-distance companies and anyone else who can deliver data and entertianment information more efficiently." The combined company will keep the Bell Atlantic name and be based in New York City. About 3,000 jobs will be eliminated in the merger, mostly in corporate and administrative positions. With combined revenues of $27.8 billion, the Nynex-Bell Atlantic company would trail only AT&T in size, with a stock market value of $51 billion, and more than 36 million customers in 13 states and Washington, D.C. The companies' proximity will help them jump into the long-distance service. About 30 percent of all long-distance calls originate within the two companies service areas, and half of those also terminate in the region.