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hasn't been paying attention to sugary-sweet pop songs from the 1950s. Otherwise, the company would realize that breaking up is hard to do. The big-league telecommunications company made good on its plan to split into four separate companies, officially announcing this morning that it will split up the company.

AT&T, which in 1984 was forced by the government to break up its monopoly hold on the telephone industry, has since spun off



, the telecom equipment company.

In this case, AT&T will create four separate entities, each focused on some aspect of AT&T's business. The core company, which will continue to carry on with the AT&T name, is the lucrative business services unit. The consumer telephone business will become a tracking stock, while AT&T's wireless and broadband cable divisions become independent common stocks.

AT&T also said its third-quarter earnings excluding gains and charges were 38 cents a diluted share compared to 50 cents a share for the same period a year ago. The average of the 12 analysts polled by

First Call/Thompson Financial

was for the company to earn 36 cents a share. AT&T said pro forma revenue for the quarter increased 3.7 percent over last year, led by its wireless, broadband and business services unit. Revenue from the consumer long-distance area continued to fall.

So, AT&T beat analyst estimates, but those were lowered after the company had earlier cut its growth forecasts for the year.



, an electronic exchange for after-hours trading, AT&T was marginally lower. It was trading off 13 cents from its Tuesday close on the

New York Stock Exchange of $26.88. It hit a 52-week high near $60 in March.