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This Day In Market History: Bell Atlantic And GTE Announce $52B Merger To Form Verizon

This Day In Market History: Bell Atlantic And GTE Announce $52B Merger To Form Verizon

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened? On this day in 1998, Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp. announced a $52 billion telecom merger that would form Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).

Where The Market Was: The S&P 500 closed at 1,130.24 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded at 8,934.78.

What Else Was Going On In The World? In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google. NASA began the assembly of the International Space Station.

Birth Of Verizon: During the days of the Bell System, GTE was the largest U.S. telephone company. The massive merger with Bell Atlantic combined Bell Atlantic’s local and wireless phone services with GTE’s local, long-distance, wireless and Internet businesses.

At the time, the two companies served a combined 63 million local phone customers and 25 million cell phone customers.

It took nearly two years for the Federal Communications Commission to approve the merger, but the deal was officially completed in June 2000. The name chosen for the combined entity was Verizon.

In 2004, Verizon replaced competitor AT&T, Inc. (NYSE: T) in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. At the time, AT&T had been a Dow component since the Great Depression.

Verizon further acquired long-distance carrier MCI for $7.6 billion in 2005, AOL for $4.4 billion in 2015 and Yahoo for $4.48 billion in 2017.

Today, Verizon has a market cap of $232.6 billion and a total subscriber base of roughly 120 million customers.

Photo: Anthony92931, via Wikimedia Commons


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