Microsoft paying about $3 billion for Telewest

Microsoft has agreed to pay around $US3 billion in stock for MediaOne's 29.9% interest in British cable company Telewest Communications, according to public disclosure statements.

Microsoft has agreed to pay around $US3 billion in stock for MediaOne's 29.9% interest in British cable company Telewest Communications, according to public disclosure statements.

Microsoft agreed to purchase MediaOne's share of Telewest in May. The value of the purchase was not disclosed until Wednesday, in documents filed by Telewest with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Microsoft agreed to give a 0.05 stock share for each of Telewest's 638,347,122 shares, Telewest said in the filing. Microsoft's shares closed at $93 today on the Nasdaq exchange, placing the current value of the transaction at about $2.97 billion.

The final price can't be determined until the transaction is completed since it will depend on Microsoft's share price at the time, noted Caroline Boren, a spokeswoman with Microsoft's public relations firm. The closing date of the deal has not been determined, she said.

The acquisition is related to the wide-ranging agreement in May between Microsoft and AT&T to develop broadband services and to use Microsoft's software in AT&T's television set-top boxes. Also in May, AT&T agreed to buy cable communications company MediaOne Group Inc. for about $60 billion.

AT&T Chairman Michael Armstrong said in May the MediaOne acquisition will help it deploy fast, broadband communications more quickly.

The European Commission required AT&T to dispose of MediaOne's interest in Telewest to win approval of the MediaOne acquisition.

In another matter related to the Microsoft-AT&T deal, MediaOne announced yesterday that its shareholders voted to approve the AT&T-MediaOne acquisition.

About 78% of MediaOne common shares were voted, with 99% voting in favor of the acquisition, Cathy Fowler, a MediaOne spokeswoman, said.

Armstrong, in a prepared statement, said that following regulatory approval, AT&T and MediaOne will work toward the rapid development of broadband voice, video and data services.

Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080, or at http:///www.microsoft.com. AT&T, in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, can be reached at+1-908-221-2000, http://www.att.com/. MediaOne Group, in Englewood, Colorado, can be reached at +1-303-858-5800, or at http:www.mediaonegroup.com/.

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