AT&T May Sell WorldNet to @Home
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According to published reports, @Home would pay AT&T $1 billion in stock to take over the service. @Home would then take over WorldNet's 1.3 million residential customers and the almost 1 million business customers WorldNet got in its $5 billion buy of IBM Corp.'s network unit.
AT&T would still have control over WorldNet through its pending $40.9 billion acquisition of cable giant Tele-Communications Inc. AT&T would still have controlling interest in @Home since TCI is the operation's controlling shareholder. When its buy of TCI is finalized, AT&T will assume TCI's 58 percent share of the voting stock in @Home.
However, AT&T is reportedly considering a number of alternatives and any @Home takeover would not occur until the TCI deal is finalized. AT&T would continue to operate WorldNet's network and would jointly market the service with @Home.
Representatives from all the companies involved refused to comment on the various reports.
For @Home, the deal would mean a substantial boost in its customer base, which now only numbers about 330,000 subscribers. As @Home expands its cable service across the country, it would try to entice WorldNet's dial-up subscribers to upgrade to its cable modem service.
The deal would give AT&T a chance to get out of the low-margin consumer Internet access business and concentrate on more profitable Internet ventures.