AT&T Wireless ponders buyout bids

FRAMINGHAM (01/26/2004) - After reporting weak fourth-quarter earnings, AT&T Wireless Services Inc. late last week officially announced the company is considering purchase bids. AT&T Wireless reported a net loss of US$84 million for the quarter and customer churn rate at 3.3 percent. The previous quarter the carrier reported customer turnover at 2.7 percent. AT&T Wireless says local number portability and software problems contributed to the company's disappointing results and the board's decision to entertain offers. Reportedly bids are coming from Cingular Wireless LLC, the second-largest wireless carrier in the U.S., NTT DoCoMo Inc., Vodafone Group PLC and Nextel Communications Inc. AT&T Wireless has hired financial firms Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to help review offers.

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