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SBC Exploring Sale of Rural Lines
by Optimized 03:18PM Tuesday Mar 02 2004
NEW YORK (Reuters) - SBC Communications Inc. (SBC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) , the No. 2 U.S. local telephone company, confirmed on Tuesday that it may sell a small number of telephone-access lines, following recent reports by Reuters and other news organizations.

SBC's wireless joint venture, Cingular Wireless, agreed last month to buy AT&T Wireless Services Inc. (AWE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) for $41 billion, but SBC said that deal has nothing to do with its decision to weigh the sale of some access lines.

"SBC has sufficient financial resources to fund the AT&T Wireless transaction without the sale of any access lines," the company said in a statement.

The company did not elaborate on location or number of lines that may be sold.

Sources familiar with the situation previously told Reuters that SBC was mulling the sale of 500,000 lines, or 1 percent of its total lines, in rural Michigan and Texas for more than $1 billion.

SBC, based in San Antonio, Texas, said it has received inquiries by a number of companies and private capital groups to buy its lines for more than two years.

Continued @ Reuters