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BIDS FOR MEXICAN PHONE SYSTEM

An international consortium that includes St. Louis-based Southwestern Bell will pay $1.76 billion for controlling interest in Mexico's telephone monopoly under a privatization program, the finance ministry announced Sunday.

The winning bid of $2.03 a share will give the group 20.4 percent in Telefonos de Mexico, a trouble-plagued system operating about 4.1 million telephones.

In addition to Southwestern Bell, the winning consortium also includes Mexico's Grupo Carso and France's Cable & Radio.

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