It's Official: Bell Atlantic, GTE Merge

It's Official: Bell Atlantic, GTE Merge <CR>

By Jennifer Freer, Staff Writer

JUNE 30 ? Nearly two years in the making, the merger between telecommunications companies Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp. officially completed June 30, Bell Atlantic officials said.

The combined company, to be called Verizon Communications with headquarters in New York, will be the second largest telecommunications company, just behind AT&T Corp. It will be the largest U.S. wireless company with more than 260,000 employees. It will begin trading July 3 on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol VZ.

The planned marriage of the No. 2 local telephone company, Bell Atlantic of New York, and Irving, Texas-based-GTE was announced July 28, 1998. The branding campaign for the new company will be launched Aug. 1.

Heading the new company will be Charles Lee, Verizon chairman and co-chief executive officer, and Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon president and co-CEO.

Bell Atlantic Federal, which recently had its president resign, also will become a part of Verizon, but there will be no new president. Barbara Connor resigned June 14 to pursue other interests. Leonard Williams, Bell Atlantic Federal's chief operating officer, will assume leadership of the post-merger federal organization.

The impact of the merger on government customers is still being discussed, Bell Atlantic officials told Washington Technology. The post-merger federal unit is being restructured internally, but the company said this will not affect government customers.

The completion of the merger comes after many approvals. Bell Atlantic and GTE shareowners had to approve the deal, as did 27 state regulatory commissions, the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department.

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