WHAT IF THEY HAD BROKEN UP IBM LIKE AT&T?
By Carol J. Loomis

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Ten years after the U.S. government concluded its historic antitrust cases against IBM and American Telephone & Telegraph, whose stockholders have come out ahead? The seeming winner was IBM, which emerged scot-free from one suit -- a victory so smashing that its lawyers gleefully celebrated with champagne. The other case, by contrast, rudely hacked AT&T into eight pieces. AT&T Chairman Charles L. Brown called the settlement ''exactly what the government wanted.'' Now -- a decade later -- the investors who stuck by the Bell bunch have bubbly rights, and by a magnum-size margin. Here's the tally: The market value of AT&T's common stock just before the settlements were announced in January 1982 was $47.5 billion. In late June of this year, the market value of the eight successor companies together -- the stripped-down AT&T, plus Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, BellSouth, Nynex, Pacific Telesis, Southwestern Bell, and US West -- came to no less than $180 billion. Some of that gain reflects the billions of earnings that the companies have retained: The common stockholders' equity, or book value, of the seven Baby Bells plus AT&T is around $27 billion bigger than AT&T's was before the breakup. So the empire should be selling for more than it used to. But most of the gain in market value simply reflects the greater glory investors have accorded the companies. In 1982, AT&T sold for less than book value; today the eight as a whole command more than twice book. Compare the no-bubbles record of IBM. Its market capitalization at the beginning of 1982 was $34 billion; today it is $56 billion. That $22 billion difference isn't much more than the $17 billion in additional stockholders' equity that IBM's shareholders have at work in the company. In other words, every $1 of additional investment has produced only $1.30 of market value -- a terrible result. And that's a good reason why John Akers, with nary a nudge from Washington, is right now bluntly chopping IBM into pieces.

CHART: NOT AVAILABLE CREDIT: FORTUNE CHART CAPTION: Since 1982, IBM's market value is up just 66%. . . . . .While AT&T and the Baby Bells have leaped 279%