Hollings condemns foreign ownership


Foreign governments would be prohibited from taking big stakes in U.S. telecommunications companies, under a bill introduced by Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.). The bill is a reaction to press reports that German-owned Deutsche Telekom AG is weighing an offer for Sprint, now that Sprint's merger with MCI WorldCom is all but dead.

The bill, which has eight co-sponsors, would strip the FCC's power to waive a prohibition that keeps companies that are more than 25% foreign-government-owned from acquiring U.S. telecom companies. "To allow a foreign-government-owned corporation to purchase a U.S. telecommunications company would be putting domestic competitors at the mercy of a foreign government," Hollings and 29 other senators wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman William Kennard.