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Byline: Akweli Parker, Miriam Hill and Wendy Tanaka
With the whole cable industry watching, AT&T Corp. Wednesday rebuffed Comcast Corp.'s bid to acquire AT&T Broadband, the telecommunications giant's cable-TV and high-speed Internet division.
AT&T's board of directors, meeting in Denver, decided unanimously that Comcast's offer was too low.
The proposal was valued at $53 billion in stock and assumed debt based on Comcast's closing share price Wednesday. If successful, Comcast would become the nation's largest cable-TV provider, with 22 million subscribers. It now ranks third with 8.4 million customers, trailing AT&T and AOL Time Warner Inc.
"We disagree with the AT&T board's characterization of our offer as inadequate," Comcast president Brian L. Roberts said in a statement. "Since our (July 8) announcement, AT&T shareholders have responded to our proposal by adding over $14 billion in market valuation to AT&T."
Comcast said it was pleased, however, with the AT&T board's decision to postpone plans to issue a tracking stock for the cable unit. That move presumably gives Comcast more time to bargain with AT&T.
Comcast did not seem inclined to increase its bid for AT&T Broadband directly, however.
"Everybody starts by saying, `My house is …