News Burst: EC probes BT, AT&T deal

The European Commission this week kicked off a full-scale anti-trust probe into the $11bn alliance between BT and AT&T.

Although BT said the investigation was expected, the EU's anti-trust experts cited several areas of the deal that caused concern -- the duo's Market shares in the provision of global telecoms services to large corporations and carrier services to other telecos, the creation of a monopoly position for certain telcoms services the UK and the possibile link up of the two telecos subsidiaries and partners.

Observers say that in order to satisfy EC merger watchers, AT&T may be forced to sell off its UK operations. A handful of rival UK companies, most notably Cable & Wireless, have opposed the merger claiming the pair will clean-up transatlantic telecoms traffic.

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