BellSouth

(BLS)

and

SBC Communications

(SBC)

are

combining their U.S. wireless operations, creating the second-largest wireless carrier in the country. The largest wireless company in the U.S. is

Verizon Wireless

, the joint venture between

Bell Atlantic

(BEL)

and

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

. BellSouth and SBC said the new wireless operation will serve 16.2 million subscribers and be able to reach 175 million potential customers from coast to coast. SBC will own 60% of the new company, while BellSouth will own 40%. The companies said the operation will have $10.2 billion in revenue.

Credit Suisse First Boston

priced 202 million shares of

MetLife

(MET) - Get Report

at $14.25 each, within the expected range of $13 to $15. In addition to its IPO, MetLife is distributing 493.5 million shares to more than 9 million of its policyholders. The offering raised $2.9 billion. The company originally expected to raise $6.1 billion, based on a November filing in which the company had planned to sell 255 million shares at up to $24 each. The decision to reduce the offering came after early marketing research showed weaker-than-expected investor demand for life insurance issues.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

American Home Products

(AHP)

and Ireland's

Elan

(ELN)

have formed a research alliance to develop a vaccine that may be used to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease and perhaps to prevent the onset of the disease.

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

,

British Telecommunications

(BTY)

and

Concert

announced they plan to invest $2 billion over three years to deliver seamless, global e-commerce services via a network of 44 Internet data centers in 16 countries. Concert is a $7 billion AT&T and BT telecommunications venture.

CIENA

(CIEN) - Get Report

, a manufacturer and marketer of optical networking systems, announced a pact with

PSINet

(PSIX)

, a high-speed Internet access provider. The three-year agreement calls for CIENA to supply optical networking solutions for PSINet's global backbone network.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(Earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.)

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

expects to report record sales of more than $1 billion in the quarter ended Sunday. AMD reported record sales of $968.7 million in the previous quarter.

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

said it will take a $400 million charge in the first quarter related to its operations in India. But CFO Gary Fayard also pointed out that the company had lowered its estimate of a pretax restructuring to be taken later this year, to $725 million from an earlier estimate of $800 million.

Coke is also reducing the estimated number of jobs it will cut in its restructuring, to 5,200 from the 6,000 originally forecast in January. The restructuring is expected to be completed by the end of the month. Fayard said worldwide sales volume in the first quarter had grown by 3%.

Intimate Brands

(IBI)

reported a 1% increase in March

same-store sales.

Microchip Technology

(MCHP) - Get Report

, said it would likely post fourth-quarter earnings of 37 cents a share, beating the 11-analyst estimate of 35 cents. The chipmaker said sales could be higher than $140 million, up 36% from the year-ago report.

Western Digital

(WDC) - Get Report

sees a third-quarter loss of 20 cents to 25 cents a share, above the 11-analyst estimate of a 42-cent per-share loss.

Offerings and stock actions

J.P. Morgan

and

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

priced 3 million shares of doughnut maker

Krispy Kreme

(KREM)

at $21 each, above the estimated range of $18 to $20.

Merrill Lynch

priced

Oratec Interventions'

(OTEC)

4 million-share IPO midrange at $14 a share. Oratec, based in Menlo Park, Calif., produces medical devices that use controlled thermal energy to treat spine and joint disorders.

Lehman Brothers

priced 4.25 million shares of

Ulticom

(ULCM)

at $13 a share, the low end of the expected $13-to-$15 range. Ulticom, a subsidiary of

Comverse Technology

(CMVT)

, provides networking signaling software for wireless, wireline and Internet communications services.

Banc of America Securities

priced

Vyyo's

(VYYO)

6.75 million-share IPO at the lower end of the estimate price range at $13.50 a share. The estimated price range was $13 to $15 a share. Vyyo, based in Cupertino, Calif., is a supplier of broadband wireless access systems.

Miscellany

The Heard on the Street column in

The Wall Street Journal

talks about the hush of celebrated Internet cheerleaders amid the tech-stock plunge.

Pitney Bowes

(PBI) - Get Report

said it has "Web-enabled" its Postage By Phone System. The new service, dubbed Postage By Phone.com, will allow Pitney Bowes customers to reset their postage meters online.

For analysis of the market's preopen tone and trends, see the Wake-Up Call, published separately.