Southwestern Bell, a phone company, is considering expanding its operations into the media business. The beta for the company at the end of 1995 was 0.90, and the debt/equity ratio was 1. The media business is expected to be 30% of the overall firm value in 1999, and the average beta
of comparable firms is 1.20; the average debt/equity ratio for these firms is 50%. The marginal corporate tax rate is 36%.
a. Estimate the beta for Southwestern Bell in 1999, assuming that it maintains its current debt/equity ratio.
b. Estimate the beta for Southwestern Bell in 1999, assuming that it decides to finance its media operations with a debt/equity ratio of 50%.