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ORLANDO-Vista-United Telecommunications, a telephone company that has serviced Walt Disney World visitors since 1971, is being sold by Walt Disney World Co. and Sprint Corp. to Smart City Networks of Las Vegas.

Salomon Smith Barney estimated earlier this year the Disney-Spring joint venture could gross $350 million, along with some Orlando real estate properties and mortgages from Disney Vacation Club. The deal still needs to clear the Florida Public Service Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. The agencies are expected to announce their ruling by year end.

Disney owns 51% of Vista-United; Sprint controls 49%. Disney formed the telephone company in 1971, a year after it opened its 30,000-acre entertainment empire at Lake Buena Vista, FL.

The joint venture has a staff of 400 full and part-time employees in Florida and California. All the workers will be retained or reassigned to other duties.

If the transaction is approved, Smart City will handle all switchboard and customer service operations for outside phone calls at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista and Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. Disney will keep 270 workers to operate and service all internal calls within its resorts.

Industry watchers agree the transaction is coming off at a peak sales level when acquisitions of telecommunications companies are in strong demand.

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