Yesterday, Fool contributor W.D. Crotty said, "No" to the just-announced acquisition by SBC Communications (NYSE:SBC) of its former parent AT&T (NYSE:T). I say "Yes."

With all the bad news from Ma Bell over the years, it's true that it might be hard to argue for AT&T as an acquisition target. The business founded by Alexander Graham Bell 130 years ago is eroding. The long-distance phone company's revenue is expected to fall by 13% next year.

Nevertheless, I disagree with W.D. I think this could provide a good buying opportunity for SBC.

Left to its own devices, AT&T may not be worth much. But if SBC can put a brake on AT&T's troubles, that could translate into a good deal.

Here is what SBC gets from the deal:

Buying AT&T, SBC breaks into the top spot in the corporate long distance market, an area with few serious competitors. Remember, MCI (NASDAQ:MCIP) is still hampered by the WorldCom scandal and under-funding. Sprint (NYSE:FON) increasingly has its sights set on becoming a wireless operator. Meanwhile, AT&T has built a first-rate Internet protocol network treasured by big global customers.

SBC gets a fresh supply of cash. AT&T produces plenty of the stuff -- about $3.7 billion in 2004. This could be used to trim some of SBC's $27 billion in debt. Or it could come in handy when paying for costly fiber networks needed to deliver TV services and fend off Comcast (NYSE:CMCSA) and other cable operators.

Then there's the AT&T brand name. Sure, the AT&T brand has been bruised over the last couple of years, but it's still a respected household name and worth an awful lot -- possibly $5 billion to $10 billion. Just imagine AT&T's long-distance, SBC's local and Internet services, and 60%-SBC-owned Cingular's wireless offerings all sold under the same trusted AT&T marquee.

Besides, AT&T isn't all that expensive. SBC executives believe they can reap huge cost savings and synergies from the deal. Indeed, if SBC can stem the decline in AT&T's profits by, say, a third, it is still only paying about five times next year's cash flow for AT&T.

Admittedly, AT&T is running poorly and looks like a clunker. But look under the company's hood and you can find some valuable parts -- at a pretty good price -- that can be put to work somewhere else. SBC might just be the company to make something of them.

SBC is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation and MCI is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation.

Fool contributor Ben McClure doesn't own shares of any of the companies mentioned here.