Cingular Wireless made a formal offer to buy AT&T Wireless Services Inc., which if accepted would make the combined company the largest wireless service in the U.S., a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
The source declined to specify the price of No. 2 wireless company Cingular’s offer, nor would he characterize the offer as friendly or unsolicited. The offer is believed to be at a premium over AT&T Wireless’s closing price of $9.99 in Friday’s trading on the New York Stock Exchange, he said.
Spokesmen from Cingular, a joint venture between local telephone companies SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp., and AT&T Wireless declined to comment.
Sources familiar with the matter said AT&T Wireless’ board of directors is meeting today, but declined to say if the offer was on the agenda. Its board met Monday, as well.
The combined company would have about 45 million customers, surpassing the current No. 1 service Verizon Wireless, which had about 36 million customers at the end of the third quarter. Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Britain’s Vodafone Group Plc.