AT&T Investors Swap Shares
NEW YORK (AP) _ AT&T Corp. investors are trading in a combined 372.6 million shares of their stock in exchange for shares in the company’s wireless business, which is slated to be spun off as an independent concern this summer.
About 438.2 million shares of AT&T Wireless Group will be issued to those investors under the exchange offer that expired on Friday.
The preliminary figures, reported Tuesday, were shy of the upward boundary AT&T had placed on the offer. AT&T had said it would accept up to 427.7 million shares of its common stock in exchange for up to 503 million shares of AT&T Wireless.
Investors who chose to participate in the offer, which commenced April 27, are getting 1.176 shares of AT&T Wireless in exchange for each share of AT&T common stock they tendered.
Even those investors who didn’t participate will be receiving some wireless stock anyway.
AT&T, which currently owns about 1.77 billion shares of the wireless stock, plans to keep about 150 million shares for itself to sell later. All of the remaining stock that isn’t issued in the exchange offer is to be split evenly among all investors who continue to hold AT&T’s regular stock.
The exchange offer is the first step in AT&T’s plan to break itself into multiple independent businesses, including the company’s huge cable TV operation and a provider of communications services for business customers.
Under the plan, AT&T’s shrinking consumer long-distance business would be owned by the business services company, but its results will be represented by a separate ``tracking″ stock.
The spinoff of the cable operation is expected to begin later this year with an initial public offering of stock.
AT&T Wireless, the nation’s third largest mobile phone company, is considered one of AT&T’s healthier businesses along with the company’s cable TV unit.
In trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange, AT&T was down 38 cents a share, to close at $20.68, while AT&T Wireless tracking shares were off 79 cents, to close at $17.30.
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