Verizon’s Offer to Buy Alltel Would Make it Largest US Wireless Provider

Although the deal has not yet been approved, Verizon Wireless has agreed to purchase its competitor, Alltel, for a reported $28 billion. The buyout would add Alltel’s 13.2 million cellular customers to Verzon’s subscriber base making the wireless provider the largest in the US. The companies combined will have more than 80 million subscribers, surpassing the nation’s largest cell phone provider, currently AT&T. Alltel primarily serves small to medium sized US cities and its network operates in 34 states. Verizon is buying Alltel from a unit of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which acquired the wireless provider late last year. The proposed deal will have a series of reviews to undergo to actually get approval to move forward. Alltel’s shareholders must still approve the buy-out as well as the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department. According to analyst expectations, for the deal to gain approval, Verizon will most likely have to sell off some assets in regions where they both currently compete. Verizon executives are confident the deal can close by the end of the year despite the pending approvals. Under the deal, Verizon Wireless is assuming over $22 billion in debt while buying Alltel’s assets for $5.9 billion.