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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 1996
PROGRESS REPORT ON BELL ATLANTIC-NYNEX MERGER
Early Reaction is Positive, Top Counselor Tells
Washington, D.C. -- The proposed merger between Bell Atlantic and
NYNEX is picking up additional support every day, according to a top
Bell Atlantic attorney.
"So far, reaction from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC),
regulators and Congress has been positive, which demonstrates to me
that they clearly see this move as being pro-competitive," said Edward
D. Young III, vice president of external affairs and associate
counsel - Bell Atlantic. Young made his comments before the
Law Association's 1996 Computer and Telecommunications Law Update and
World Computer Law Congress today in Washington.
FCC Commissioner James Quello's initial take was favorable as he noted
that "it's going to be a very competitive marketplace...efficiencies
and economies of scale benefit the consumer and the shareholder."
fellow commissioner Rachelle Chong echoed similar views.
Commissioner Susan Ness, writing previously on such mergers, said,
"Immense resources of capital and experience may be needed to
undertake certain challenges, especially as global competition
intensifies. It is not our role to try to determine in advance what
entity (big or small) is best suited to a particular role."
Young noted that the main voices of opposition have come from those
who must advance their own self-interests: the long distance
oligopoly of AT&T, MCI and Sprint. Young reiterated Bell Atlantic's
assertion that their vehement protests are proof positive that the
merger is competitive.
"Competitors will line up to get their share of the newly opened
and long distance markets," he said. "And because of the
[Telecommunications Act of 1996's] requirements that our networks be
open to local competition before we can provide in-region long
distance, the incentive is there for us to make things happen
Young warned the audience that the long distance giants will try to
bog down the FCC's efforts to implement the Telecommunications Act by
lobbying for burdensome rules that keep new competitors out of the
long-distance business. If they prevail, Young argued, dynamic new
ventures that will drive down costs and benefit consumers will suffer.
"If we, the corporate counsel, allow competitors to exploit
loopholes, we won't have to worry about the new realities of this
business, because we won't have any," he said.
Architects of the Telecommunications Act attuned to the new realities
of competition also offered early support for the merger. Rep.
Edward Markey (D-Mass.) said the new telecommunications law creates
incentives for these kinds of partnerships, and the Bell
Atlantic-NYNEX strategy will allow the new company to compete against
giants like AT&T.
House Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley (R-Va.) said the
merger would create new jobs as it expands into new markets and lines
of business, and Rep. Jack Fields (R-Texas) added that consumers
benefit if duplicative functions are eliminated. "I think this is
going to be a stronger, more competitive company," he said.
a lot of sense to this."
Such support could prove beneficial to the two companies should
Congress choose to hold hearings on the merger; however, Rep. Rick
Boucher (D-Va.) suggested that there was no need for such proceedings
because there is "no anticompetitive effect."
The Department of Justice and the FCC will review the merger for the
U.S. government. DOJ will address antitrust issues under the
Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, and the FCC has jurisdiction over the transfer
of certain radio licenses and transmission lines.
Several states will examine the merger as well, and New Jersey's
ratepayer advocate also spoke out early in favor of the transaction.
"We think the Bell Atlantic-NYNEX merger will be good for
said Blossom Peretz. Peretz indicated she is encouraged by the fact
that the merger will increase competition among long distance
Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local
telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the
largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication
marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in
Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is actively developing
high-growth national and international business opportunities in all
phases of the industry.
- Shannon Fioravanti, 703-974-5455
Michel L. Daley, 202-393-1021
Ed Young Speech Before
the Computer Law Association