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British Telecom rose nearly 9 per cent, on speculation that it will soon create a joint venture with AT&T, pooling international assets to target multinationals. The announcement of any agreement won't be made for several weeks because BT can't move with another international partner until WorldCom closes its acquisition of MCI, in which BT owns a 20 per cent stake. Michael Armstrong and Peter Bonfield, the chief executives at AT&T and BT respectively, are said to have met in recent weeks. Telecom companies are seeking global partnerships to target lucrative multinational accounts and to offset declining revenues at home as deregulation intensifies competition worldwide.