NEW YORK and IRVING, Texas - With the approval of the Bell Atlantic/GTE merger today by the California Public Utilities Commission, the companies said they have successfully completed the merger approval process at the state level. All 27 state commissions that conducted proceedings on the merger have approved it. The remaining 23 states declined to assert jurisdiction on the merger.
"All states that ruled on the merger found it to be pro-competitive," said Charles R. Lee, chairman and chief executive officer of GTE and chairman and co-chief executive officer of the new company. "These state commissions received volumes of comments from the public and our competitors. Most held extensive hearings on the merger. All exhaustively investigated the merger and each independently concluded the merger would benefit the telephone customers in their state."
Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Bell Atlantic and president and co-chief executive officer of the merged company, said, "With the state commission approvals behind us, we can now focus on our application at the FCC, the last approval that is required for the merger to close. The state commissions recognized that the combined company's long distance, wireless and data capabilities across Bell Atlantic's territories and GTE's national footprint promise a strong competitor that will be able to offer innovative service packages to satisfy customer needs."
The companies submitted a formal proposal on Jan. 27 to the FCC on how they will meet regulatory requirements and proposed a set of comprehensive commitments to facilitate prompt approval of their merger.
The U.S. Department of Justice has given its clearance, as have shareholders of the two companies. The merger also has received endorsements from the AFL-CIO, the Communications Workers of America, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and many national and local community-based organizations.
States in which approval was required included: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
More information on the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.mergerinfo.com .