AT&T Inc.'s agreement to acquire BellSouth Corp. would give the combined company a total of $93.8 billion in pension assets - $66.7 billion in defined benefit assets and $27.1 billion in defined contribution assets, according to data from Pensions & Investments. That would rank the new company ninth among the top U.S. plan sponsors, and make it the second-largest corporate retirement plan sponsor, behind General Motors Corp.
"Moving forward, it's a little too early to speculate what may or may not happen," said Brent Fowler, a BellSouth spokesman. "Both companies have very solid pension plans. If anything (the deal) would solidify and make our pension plans more secure. But it's very, very early in the deal to speculate about what would happen."
Anne Vincent, an AT&T spokeswoman, declined to comment on the merger's possible impact on the companies' pension plans.