SBC Sells South African Telecom Stake

SBC Communications is selling its remaining stake in South
African telecom provider Telkom SA Limited to a consortium of investors.

The deal flows through Thintana Communications, which is owned by SBC (60
percent) and Telekom Malaysia (40 percent). Under the agreement, Thintana
will sell its remaining interest in Telkom SA.

In June, Thintana reduced its ownership in Telkom SA from 30 percent to 15.1
percent. SBC’s portion of that sale was $543 million in cash, according to
its most recent filing.

Financial terms of today’s agreement between Thintana and a consortium of
investors led by Andile Ngcaba and Women Investment Portfolio Holdings were
not disclosed.

The proceeds will help defray costs associated with Cingular’s $41
billion
acquisition of AT&T Wireless , SBC spokesman
Walt Sharp told internetnews.com. SBC co-owns Cingular along with
BellSouth Communications .

Meanwhile, SBC, which cut 7,000 jobs over the past 12 months (mostly through
attrition), expects even larger reductions next year, it revealed in a
regulatory filing.

“We currently anticipate there will continue to be additional workforce
reductions through attrition or involuntary programs that could exceed
10,000 by Dec. 31, 2005,” the company said in a filing with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission.

SBC said the estimate, which would represent about 6 percent of its
workforce, is based on “a number of initiatives to improve efficiencies.”
It did not say how much it would save as a result of the lower employment
figure.

“We will attempt to use attrition to the maximum extent possible,” Sharp said.
“Cuts will be across all businesses and all geographies. It is possible
that there will be some hiring in growing parts of the business and
reductions in areas not growing as rapidly.”

To offset losses in its traditional phone service, SBC is making heavy investments
in fiber to deliver a triple play of high-speed data, voice
and video.

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