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BELL ATLANTIC AND NYNEX AN NOUNCEMENT EXPECTED

A new flurry of rumors regarding a full-blown marriage between Bell Atlantic Corp. and Nynex Corp. circulated last week with rumblings that the two former Bells are on the verge of announcing a $22 billion landline alliance.

As far as the wireless industry is concerned, the partnership has been sealed up for more than a year. The two merged their cellular units in July of last year to increase shareholder value. The result: domestic wireless investments last year contributed to more than half of Bell Atlantic Corp.’s earnings growth.

Also, the two East Coast partners collectively hold 50 percent of the nation’s third largest personal communications services company, PrimeCo Personal Communications L.P. PrimeCo has licenses covering 57 million pops nationwide and is constructing a network based on Code Division Multiple Access technology.

PrimeCo’s other two owners, U S West Inc. and AirTouch Communications Inc., are in the process of merging their cellular businesses; the two also collectively hold 50 percent of PrimeCo.

Bell Atlantic and Nynex have denied for months that the acquisition of Nynex was under discussion. Both companies generated more than $13 billion in revenues last year, of which about $1 billion was profit for each. Nynex is valued at $22 billion.

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