AT&T Wireless to 'explore strategic alternatives'

The board of directors for AT&T Wireless Services is considering selling the company.

The board of directors for AT&T Wireless Services is considering selling the company.

Chief executive officer John Zeglis said that there has been "much interest" in the company, and is to "explore strategic alternatives".

"The board will consider the company's options and determine the course of action this is in the best interest of its shareholders," said a company statement.

AT&T has hired Merrill Lynch and law firm,Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz to evaluate offers.

Cingular Wireless, NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone, T-Mobile and Nextel Communications are rumoured to be interested in buying AT&T Wireless.

Because of a fairly strong financial position, AT&T Wireless will be in the driver's seat in sales negotiations, said Jeff Kagan, an independent telecom analyst.  

"Now they can take the time they need to evaluate, without distraction, all the various companies and approaches. AT&T Wireless is in no rush to make a decision. There is no pressure on them. In fact, one option is not to merge at all."

AT&T Wireless' fourth-quarter loss was $84m, compared with a loss of $131m last year. AT&T Wireless' fourth-quarter services revenue was $3.9bn, up 4.4% from the last quarter of 2002.

Grant Gross writes for IDG News Service

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