SBC Communications Inc. said on Monday it will buy AT & T; Corp. for nearly $16 billion, creating one of the nation's largest telecommunications companies and ending the independence of its former parent that once held a monopoly on the U.S. phone market.

The decision followed late-night meetings by directors of SBC, the nation's second-biggest regional phone company, and the 120-year-old icon AT & T;, which gave birth to SBC when its monopoly was broken up in 1984.

The combined company would have around $71 billion in annual revenue.

SBC's acquisition of the No. 1 long-distance carrier will include $14.7 billion in SBC stock and a special cash dividend of roughly $1.04 billion to be paid by AT & T; to its shareholders when the deal closes.

Analysts said the merger would likely face antitrust hurdles.

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