GTE-led consortium receives FCC approval to acquire majority stake of Puerto Rico Telephone Company.

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IRVING, Texas - GTE today announced that a GTE-led consortium, which includes Popular Inc., has received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to purchase a 50 percent-plus-one share stake in the Puerto Rico Telephone Company.

The transaction was approved by the Puerto Rico government in July when the GTE consortium agreed to purchase a majority stake for $444 million plus a $1.5 billion special dividend to be paid by PRTC to the Puerto Rico Telephone Authority. The sale is expected to close in early March.

"We are extremely pleased to have achieved this milestone," said Jon Slater, who was selected in November to become president and CEO of PRTC when the sale is final. "We were awaiting FCC approval before finalizing the financing. We are looking forward to closing this transaction and focusing 100 percent on the operations of PRTC."

With 1998 revenues of more than $25 billion, GTE is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies and a leading provider of integrated telecommunications services.

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