Deal could take SBC off list of potential Qwest suitors By Jeff Smith Rocky Mountain News Friday, January 28, 2005

An SBC-AT&T deal would squelch the idea that SBC Communications could be a potential acquirer of Denver- based Qwest Communications.

Some, such as portfolio manager Bruce Allen of Cascade Financial Management in Denver, have been intrigued by that possibility.

"(Qwest Chief Executive) Dick Notebaert sold Ameritech to SBC, and SBC was one of the few companies with the cash flow to possibly be in the place to acquire Qwest," Allen said.

He added that the two companies' local phone operations also would have fit well geographically.

But Tom Friedberg, a Denver independent telecommunications analyst, for a while has thought that Sprint or All-tel eventually would be more likely Qwest suitors.

"I don't think (a possible AT&T-SBC deal) changes anything in the strategic landscape," Friedberg said.

While Qwest has a more modern fiber-optic network than AT&T, Friedberg said Qwest's local phone operations wouldn't exactly be viewed by SBC as a plum.

Indeed, recent wireless mergers and the SBC-AT&T report indicate that Baby Bells are interested primarily in wireless operations and large corporate customers.

Besides a declining traditional landline business, Qwest is still under criminal investigation, still must settle shareholder suits stemming from its accounting scandal and is without its own nationwide wireless network.