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AT&T and Comcast reached an accord that averts a costly bidding war for MediaOne Group. It also allows AT&T to complete its $54 billion acquisition of the Denver-based cable-TV company. AT&T, which had derailed a $48 billion merger agreement between Comcast and MediaOne, will exchange various cable systems with the former that could result in Comcast gaining an additional 2 million subscribers. In return, AT&T could receive up to $9.2 billion - contingent on its acquiring MediaOne, the fourth-largest US cable company.

AT&T also agreed with Lenfest Communications to acquire the half it doesn't already own of the Philadelphia-area cable provider in a stock deal worth more than $2 billion, the companies said. The move would add another piece to the No. 1 US long-distance carrier's plan to build a national cable network that can be converted for telephone and data-transmission use. Lenfest has about 1.5 million subscribers.

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