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Andrea

BellSouth to be sold

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BellSouth to be acquired by AT&T

For Atlanta, a sale of BellSouth -- which was created in 1984 as part of the breakup of the original AT&T -- could bring massive changes.

The company is among the city's most prominent corporate citizens and is a major employer, with campuses spread across the metro area. BellSouth also has been a force in local business circles, with a powerful lobbying force at the state capitol.

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Civic leadership, Bellsouth has been one of Atlanta's top civic leaders & good corporate citizens. All the layoffs they've handed out aside (including my wife's) they have been good to the community.

I'm sure AT&T will make an effort to compensate for that - but the heart & desire will no longer be there.

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will this hurt our economy?

metro Atlanta I believe is still creating more jobs than they are losing, right?

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will this hurt our economy?

It's just a different world out there these days. Corporations form, splinter and reform in ways that were hard to imagine even 25 years ago. While I'm sure the new company will have a very substantial presence here, "hometown" businesses and business leaders tend to provide strong support for the arts and other civic enterprises. We may miss some of that, but it remains to be seen.

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Just for the record, I thought the original AT&T was broken up to prevent things like this from happening.

However, I'm no economic expert, so I won't call AT&T evil yet.

So, let's sum up what has happened lately:

--Delta has gone into bankruptcy (but there seems to be a decent chance that it will pull through)

--Scientific-Atlanta was bought by Cisco

--Georgia-Pacific has been bought by Koch

--Chicquita didn't relocate here (but this was hardly a loss or an issue)

--Doraville will lose the auto plant

--BellSouth is bought out by AT&T

Anyone else got some things to add? Anything good?

It seems to me that the only things that will really be a loss will be Scientific-Atlanta and the Doraville Plant. At least Delta has a chance of recovering, BellSouth/AT&T will leave a regional HQ here (but it hardly seems a fair trade), the GA-Pacific division of Koch will be based here, and Verizon still will be here. Still, the loss is greater than what we will gain.

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I believe this is just a cycle. Companies do this all of the time. It just seems Atlanta has been hit hard lately. Atlanta will pull through. Atlanta has and will continue to have one of the strongest economies in the U.S.

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Just for the record, I thought the original AT&T was broken up to prevent things like this from happening.

However, I'm no economic expert, so I won't call AT&T evil yet.

The present day AT&T is nothing like it was before divestiture. The feds forced the breakup of AT&T because it was a monopoly. Before 1984 there was no competition. Today's telecommunication industry is a much different landscape. There is a ton of competition for CLECS...ie Vonage, Birch Telecomm and COVAD. There will be much more consolidation in the telecom industry. It's the only way to compete. That's why Verizon is now with MCI and SBC went with AT&T. Oddly enough Verizon and SBC were the strongest of the Baby Bells. So no, AT&T (which is actually SBC...they took the name AT&T because of national brand recognition) is not the same "evil" entity it was pre-1984.

My feelings are that I hate to see this occur. Years ago when I worked at Bellsouth we always knew that there would one day be a marriage between AT&T and Bellsouth. One of the reasons I left. The people who hurt the most in such mergers tend to be middle and upper management. There will be just too many overlaping functions.

For those of us old enough to remember the telecom industry prior to 1984 will recognize 2007 AT&T to some degree. Anyone remember SouthernBell? For those from Louisiana and Mississippi, remember SouthCentral Bell? All were regional headquarters of AT&T...Ma Bell. Well it appears that Bellsouth will once again act as it did pre 1984....as a regional hedquarters...minus the SouthernBell name. I hate to see it minimized though. Bellsouth has always been such a great civic leader. The Bellsouth Classics were a blast also. That's one thing I miss about not working there....free tickets for 12 every year.

Seasons change...corporations change.

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I think you are over reacting a bit. Atlanta isn't the only one with these things occuring. All cities must confront these changes. As long as jobs don't leave and buildings go empty, nothing will change. Some jobs may leave, while they may bring in others. Most of the companies present in NYC aren't based there, but nearly all have a "presence" there. Presence is the key word nowadays. Most companies are looking to expand thier presence in the metro Atlanta region. It was recently ranked #1 again for hottest place to do business. It is usually in the Top 5. Keep in mind that Southern Company is buying up other companies. And with Ernst and Young moving in and all the other offices going up in the metro region, the jobs will keep coming, and so will the people. Atlanta is projected to lead the nation again through 2025 in job growth. More than 300 companies have established or relocated thier US or regional headquarters to the metro Atlanta area. The Atlanta juggernaut isn't likely to be stopped anytime soon. Cheer up!

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As long as the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce has the Atlanta News Network (aka CNN) and the Atlanta Weather Channel (aka The Weather Channel) the "juggernaut" will always have plenty of hot air.

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Duke is buying Cenergy, not Southern Company! All of these are massive blows to the atlanta area and pose serious threats/concerns. We're looking at 2 base closers, 2 auto plant closings, and 3 major corporate buyouts. This is quite a blow to atlanta!

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Duke is buying Cenergy, not Southern Company! All of these are massive blows to the atlanta area and pose serious threats/concerns. We're looking at 2 base closers, 2 auto plant closings, and 3 major corporate buyouts. This is quite a blow to atlanta!

These are short-term blows, but I do not think they are necessarily long-term blows. The really bad one is BellSouth due to the reasons cited above. However, I think cities should rely less on the Fortune 500 company headquarters for the same reason workers should do so. They used to be a more stable source of jobs (the "job for life" thing you know) and civic pride. But today, they are quite fickle and huge mergers and buyouts seem to be the norm. And it has happened before as well. Los Angeles has managed to become by far the second largest metro area in the US (nearly 4 times the size of metro Atlanta) with only a few Fortune 500 companies. By contrast, Birmingham AL actually has a lot of Fortune 500 companies for a city its size (7 I think, making it one of the top US cities in terms of the number of Fortune 500 headquarters), but that has hardly helped grow a city that has been rather stagnant in terms of population in recent decades. Atlanta and Birmingham were the same size in 1950, but now Atlanta is 5 going on 6 times as large. There is a lot more to a major metro economy than the big companies.

There is some truth to I think to the idea that jobs follow workers in the "new economy" as Richard Florida argues (some truth but not total truth). The fact is Atlanta has continued to attract LOTS of young workers even though the job base was not exactly booming in the past several years with a recession that hit telecom and other things in Atlanta pretty hard. I have been rather surprised at how high the continued population growth has been given the lackluster job growth. It is like the workers are coming regardless, and employers who want those workers will have a significant presence in the future in Atlanta because of the base of potential employees.

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Anyone remember SouthernBell? For those from Louisiana and Mississippi, remember SouthCentral Bell? All were regional headquarters of AT&T...Ma Bell.

Indeed I do. I was a telephone operator for Southern Bell (TSPS for those of you in the know) while I went to college. At the time AT&T was the largest employer in the USA with over 1,000,000 employees which 99.9% worked in the USA. I left prior to the breakup so that I could concentrate on school full time, but I do remember many of my friends that were still there being affected by MaBell's divesture. Some went to AT&T some went to the newly formed BellSouth (now HQ'd in ATL) Keep in mind that during its pre-breakup days, AT&T created many of the technological advances that we take for granted today including Unix, the laser, and the transistor, etc. All telephones today, down to the layout of the touchpad all trace their history straight back to MaBell.

As I mentioned in the other thread on this, AT&T was forbidden to use the original logo for the company, the blue outlined bell, and ironically its BellSouth that is the only Baby Bell that retains it.

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yes we're losing auto plants but the Kia plant is almost certain to set up shop in LaGrange

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yes we're losing auto plants but the Kia plant is almost certain to set up shop in LaGrange

Well actually if you do a search on UrbanPlanet, you will find threads where it is certain to go into NC, SC and Tennessee as well. :lol: The reality is that Kia says it will be several years before it decides if and where it will do an expansion into the South.

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As long as the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce has the Atlanta News Network (aka CNN) and the Atlanta Weather Channel (aka The Weather Channel) the "juggernaut" will always have plenty of hot air.

You wouldn't happen to know UrbanDesigner would you? Or AmericanUrbanDesigner, how about Ex-Yankee?

Anyways, we're always delighted to hear your insight, quite refreshing...

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You wouldn't happen to know UrbanDesigner would you? Or AmericanUrbanDesigner, how about Ex-Yankee?

Anyways, we're always delighted to hear your insight, quite refreshing...

Indeed. I need to get around to doing something about that. I had forgotten about this.

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Duke is buying Cenergy, not Southern Company! All of these are massive blows to the atlanta area and pose serious threats/concerns. We're looking at 2 base closers, 2 auto plant closings, and 3 major corporate buyouts. This is quite a blow to atlanta!

Well, excuse me. You are correct. I thought for sure it was Southern Company, but I should have made sure... I will remove it. It still doesn't matter, because Southern Company is the largest super regional energy company in the USA. It is one of the fastest growing companies in the nation, and they have bought out other companies, and probably will do so again. These blows are only temporary. The Atlanta metro area will continue to gain corporate headquarters in the future, such as Rubbermaid. I guess if you want them in the city of Atlanta itself, though, you may not get it. More likely than not, they will be located in a suburb. I agree that it would be nice for the city to retain some headquarters, however. According to the Labor Dept., the Atlanta area is still projected to lead the nation's metro areas in job creation through 2025, and the population growth is continuing at a rapid rate, so yes the "juggernaut" (as mister smarty pants quoted me) is still very much alive.

If your going to respond to me, please do so nicely, thanks.

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Well actually if you do a search on UrbanPlanet, you will find threads where it is certain to go into NC, SC and Tennessee as well. :lol: The reality is that Kia says it will be several years before it decides if and where it will do an expansion into the South.

The announcement for Kia's new plant will be at the end of this month with GA being in the top spot for the new billion dollar plant.

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There is some truth to I think to the idea that jobs follow workers in the "new economy" as Richard Florida argues (some truth but not total truth). The fact is Atlanta has continued to attract LOTS of young workers even though the job base was not exactly booming in the past several years with a recession that hit telecom and other things in Atlanta pretty hard. I have been rather surprised at how high the continued population growth has been given the lackluster job growth. It is like the workers are coming regardless, and employers who want those workers will have a significant presence in the future in Atlanta because of the base of potential employees.

That is the way I see it as well, nothing seems to halt the sunbelt's growth. That could change in the very far future, however, but I don't see it. Worldwide, the human population is growing the fastest in the warmer regions. Humans dislike long, cold, harsh winters, I guess. The US population has been in transition since the 1940's. There has been a gigantic shifting of weight in the USA. Where once the north dominated, the balance of economic and political power has shifted to the southern and western regions. You mention Los Angeles and the fact that it has only a few headquarters. It's economy is very strange; when you think of a large business in LA, you have a hard time unless it's a movie company or something. Yet it grew like wildfire. It's growth has slowed dramatically, but it STILL continues to grow, mostly because of high hispanic birth rates. Atlanta has seen it's growth accelerate for 3 decades, and still is nearly as high as it was at it's peak. Atlanta grows because of migration, first nationally, then internationally in addition to natural growth. Atlanta is a larger business center than Los Angeles, so I think Atlanta's future is very bright.

PS: LA is a CSA with San Bernadion/Riverside and Orange County, etc. Also, Atlanta recorded it's largest population increase ever in 2005. It grew from 4,708,000 to about 4,856,000. That is a near 150,000 increase in one year. More than any year in the 90's. That doesn't include Atlanta CSA which put the number at about 200,000 in that year (of course these are only estimates, but Atlanta usually exceeds it's estimates). Still, this puts the Atlanta CSA at about 5,200,000. This is depite the less than robust job market.

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Fortunately Atlanta may have reached the point that the city, despite it's numerous drawbacks - is a city where you can 'make it'. 'Making it' being a very relative, but still - it's feasible for someone that is smart & has an idea to accomplish, in a market as sizable as the city's is.

That's what Atlanta is banking on - because our corporate foundation is eroding & the city will depend more on aggresive individuals than - & luring them - than the Atlanta corporate citizenry. If it's cheaper - Coca Cola or CNN will leave as well.

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Atlanta is a larger business center than Los Angeles, so I think Atlanta's future is very bright.

Do you have any statistics to explain that? A 4.5 million metro really doesn't compete with an 18 million one especially Southern California.

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Do you have any statistics to explain that? A 4.5 million metro really doesn't compete with an 18 million one especially Southern California.

Size isn't everything in the world of cities. I was really discussing the cities themselves, but the metro may change the statistics. LA is larger than Chicago, yet Chicago is a much larger corporate center than LA. Chicago has more businesses headquartered there than LA. That 18 million figure is for the LA/Orange county/Riverside-San Bernadino CSA. The Atlanta MSA is 4,856,000 and it's CSA is 5,200,000. I disagree that Atlanta can't compete with southern California. It might not be as large, but it has been much more successful than LA lately. It's growth rate in jobs and income outstripped LA and it's citizens are wealthier than LA's based on per capita income figures. Atlanta also lead the nation in new housing construction and corporate relocations during the 90's. It was become very, very successful and very large. I do think the other metros can compete with NY and LA because they have been and should continue to do so.

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