Cingular Wireless LLC, a joint venture between SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp., has announced an agreement to acquire AT&T Wireless. 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. The acquisition, which is subject to the approvals of AT&T Wireless shareholders and federal regulatory authorities, and to other customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed as soon as late 2004.
Cingular expects to achieve significant operating synergies through this acquisition by consolidating networks, distribution, billing, procurement, marketing, advertising, and other functions. 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 boards of Cingular and AT&T Wireless have approved the merger agreement. SBC Communications and BellSouth have committed funding to Cingular for the all cash deal. Funding requirements for SBC will be approximately $25 billion and for BellSouth, approximately $16 billion. Cingular expects the combined operations will generate positive free cash flow in 2005. Both SBC and BellSouth expect to have some dilution to GAAP and cash earnings per share in 2005 and 2006. Cash earnings per share for both SBC and BellSouth are expected to be accretive in 2007. GAAP earnings per share for BellSouth are expected to accretive in 2008 and accretive for SBC in 2007. SBC's and BellSouth's proportionate equity stake in Cingular will remain unchanged following the transaction, with SBC holding 60% and BellSouth 40% of the equity. Management control will remain 50-50.