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Autor:   •  December 22, 2010  •  3,538 Words (15 Pages)  •  436 Views

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History of the company

Verizon Communications Inc., based in New York and incorporated in Delaware, was formed on June 30, 2000, with the merger of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp. Verizon began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the VZ symbol on Monday, July 3, 2000.

The symbol was selected because it uses the two letters of the Verizon logo that graphically portray speed, while also echoing the genesis of the company name: veritas, the Latin word connoting certainty and reliability, and horizon, signifying forward-looking and visionary.

While Verizon is truly a 21st century company, the mergers that formed Verizon were many years in the making, involving companies with roots that can be traced to the beginnings of the telephone business in the late 19th century.

Government regulation largely shaped the evolution of the industry throughout most of the 20th century. Then, with the signing of the Telecommunications Act on Feb. 8, 1996, federal law directed a shift to more market-based policies. This promise of a new competitive marketplace was a driving force behind Verizon's formation.

The Bell Atlantic - GTE Merger

The mergers that formed Verizon were among the largest in U.S. business history, culminating in a definitive merger agreement, dated July 27, 1998, between Bell Atlantic, based in New York City, and GTE, which was in the process of moving its headquarters from Stamford, Conn., to Irving, Texas.

GTE and Bell Atlantic had each evolved and grown through years of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Each had proven track records in successfully integrating business operations.

Prior to the merger, GTE was one of the world's largest telecommunications companies, with 1999 revenues of more than $25 billion. GTE's National and International Operations served approximately 35 million access lines through subsidiaries in the United States, Canada and the Dominican Republic, and through affiliates in Canada, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. (Access lines are the individual connections from a customer's premises to the phone network.) GTE was a leading wireless operator in the United States, with more than 7.1 million wireless customers and the opportunity to serve 72.5 million potential wireless customers.

Outside the 50 states, GTE operated wireless networks serving approximately 6.7 million customers with 34.8 million potential wireless customers through subsidiaries in Argentina, Canada and the Dominican Republic, and affiliates in Canada, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Taiwan. GTE provided internetworking services, ranging from dial-up Internet access for residential and small-business consumers to Web-based applications for Fortune 500 companies. GTE was also a leader in directories and telecommunications-based information services and systems.

Bell Atlantic was even larger than GTE, with 1999 revenues of more than $33 billion. Its Domestic Telecom unit served 43 million access lines, including 22 million households and more than 2 million business customers. Its Global Wireless unit managed one of the world's largest and most successful wireless companies, with 7.7 million Bell Atlantic Mobile customers in the United States, and international wireless investments in Latin America, Europe and the Pacific Rim.

Bell Atlantic's Directory Services was already the world's largest publisher of directory information, including operations in Europe. Bell Atlantic's International unit included a mix of mature and start-up wireline telecommunications investments in Europe and the Pacific Rim.

The Bell Atlantic - GTE transaction -- valued at more than $52 billion at the time of the announcement -- was designed to join Bell Atlantic's sophisticated network serving its densely-packed, data-intensive customer base in 13 states from Maine to the Virginias with GTE's national footprint, advanced data communications capabilities and long-distance expertise. The purpose was to create a combined company with the scale and scope to compete as one of the telecommunications industry's top-tier companies. This combined company would be able to provide long-distance and data services nationwide as part of a full package of other communications services (subject to regulatory restrictions).

The merger closed nearly two years later, following review and approvals by Bell Atlantic and GTE shareowners, 27 state regulatory commissions and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and various international agencies.

In the meantime, on Sept. 21, 1999, Bell Atlantic and London-based Vodafone AirTouch Plc (now Vodafone Group Plc) announced that they had agreed to create a new wireless business -- with a national footprint, a single brand and a common digital technology -- composed of Bell Atlantic's and Vodafone's U.S. wireless assets (Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging).

This wireless joint venture received regulatory approval in six months. The new "Verizon" brand was launched on April 3, 2000, and the wireless joint venture began operations as Verizon Wireless on April 4. GTE's wireless operations became part of Verizon Wireless -- creating the nation's largest wireless company -- when the Bell Atlantic - GTE merger closed nearly three months later. Verizon then became the majority owner (55 percent) of Verizon Wireless, with management control of the joint venture.

When Verizon Communications began operations in mid-2000, the leaders of Bell Atlantic and GTE shared management responsibility for the company. Former GTE Chairman and CEO Charles R. "Chuck" Lee became Verizon's founding Chairman of the Board and co-CEO, while former Bell Atlantic CEO Ivan Seidenberg became Verizon's founding President and co-CEO. In accordance with a leadership transition plan announced at the time of the merger, Lee retired from Verizon in 2002. Seidenberg is currently Chairman and CEO.

Business activity

A bellwether for the industry, Verizon Communications was added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average in April 2004. Verizon continues to have a nationwide presence in wireline and wireless markets, with more than 100 million Americans connecting to a Verizon network daily.

As of year-end 2005, Verizon's wireline network included more than 48 million wireline access lines and more than 5 million broadband connections nationwide. Over 1.5 billion phone calls and trillions of bits of data were being carried over this nationwide network on an average business day, with a reliability factor of over 99.999

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