Wireless operator makes a packet

Cingular Wireless announced today that it is to acquire AT&T Wireless, the third largest mobile operator in the USA, for $41 billion.

Cingular Wireless LLC, a joint venture between SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp, announced today an agreement to acquire AT&T Wireless, the third largest mobile operator in the USA.

‘This is great news for America’s wireless users,’ said Stan Sigman, president and CEO of Cingular Wireless. ‘This combination is expected to create customer benefits and growth prospects neither company could have achieved on its own.’

Under the terms of the agreement approved by the boards of directors of Cingular and AT&T Wireless, shareholders of AT&T Wireless will receive $15 cash per common share or approximately $41 billion.

According to a statement, Cingular expects to achieve ‘significant operating synergies’ through this acquisition by consolidating networks, distribution, billing, procurement, marketing and advertising.

The company expects to generate more than $1 billion in operating expense and capital expenditure savings in 2006, and in excess of $2 billion in annual savings beginning in 2007.

The acquisition, which is subject to the approvals of AT&T Wireless shareholders and US regulatory authorities, is expected to close by the end of 2004.