BellSouth agreed to sell its Latin American wireless operations to Telefónica of Spain for about $4.2 billion in cash, plus the assumption of $1.5 billion in debt. The announcement had been anticipated since the middle of last week. The proceeds could help Atlanta-based BellSouth pay for its share of the purchase of AT&T Wireless announced Feb. 17. (BellSouth and SBC Communications jointly own Cingular Wireless, which agreed to pay a reported $41 billion in that deal.) Telefónica's acquisition will add about 10.5 million subscribers in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela to its customer base. Spain's biggest phone company already enjoys a strong presence in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina.
Seeking to "raise capital," General Electric announced plans to offer 118 million shares of common stock through underwriters led by Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley. At current market prices, the sale could bring the diversified technology, media, and financial services company $3.8 billion.
An initial public offering that could generate $1 billion is back in the plans of LG Philips, the world's largest maker of TV sets and flat screens for computers, the Financial Times reported. The Dutch-South Korean joint venture had been expected to hold the IPO last fall. But it was postponed in the belief that growth in equities markets would result in a higher valuation, the Financial Times said. It said the sale now is expected to be held in the next few months, barring a new slump in those markets.
The money-losing airline group SAS warned of major new structural changes if negotiations with some of its employee unions fail to produce a deal on pay and working conditions. Among the options suggested by company officials: splitting Scandinavian Airlines, the system's largest carrier, into four parts; laying off more employees on top of the 6,000 let go over the past two years; and outsourcing or simply canceling some operations.