Talks said to be ongoing
Last modified on Thursday, 05 June 2008 10:40
Verizon Wireless is said to be close to closing a deal with Alltel Corporation, a rural U.S. mobile service provider, for approximately $27 billion. If the deal closes it will put Verizon ahead of AT&T Inc. as the top U.S. wireless service provider. Alltel reported that it had more than 13 million customers at the end of the first quarter, and combined with Verizon would have over 80 million customers. AT&T reported that it had about 71 million subscribers at the end of the first quarter.
As part of deal with Alltel, Verizon would assume nearly $23 billion of Alltel debt, which debt occurred as a result of a private leveraged buyout by TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners of Goldman Sachs just seven months ago. This proposal by Verizon has surprised many analysts, but several indicated that the tightening of capital markets likely is the motivation behind the deal to sell to Verizon.
Verizon Wireless and Alltel use the same CDMA wireless network technology and Verizon Wireless has roaming agreements allowing its customers to use Alltel's network in areas where Verizon does not have coverage themselves.
The U.S. FCC and other antitrust authorities and telecommunications regulators will review the deal before it is approved and may require Verizon to sell off airwaves in some markets before it gives an approval.
TPG, Goldman, Alltel and Verizon all declined comment.