Saturday, January 10, 2009

USA - Verizon acquires Alltel

Verizon completes 28.1 billion dlr acquisition of Alltel

Verizon Wireless announced Friday that it had completed a 28.1 billion dollar acquisition of mobile phone operator Alltel to become top wireless carrier in the United States in terms of subscribers.

Verizon said Alltel's purchase from Atlantis Holdings would expand its wireless network coverage to nearly the entire United States population, "making it the largest wireless carrier in the country with more than 83.7 million total customers."

Under a settlement with US Justice Department antitrust officials, the firm will divest some operations and will also reduce "overlapping" properties.

A joint venture of US telecom giant Verizon Communications and Britain's Vodafone, Verizon Wireless said it expected to realize "synergies" of more than nine billion dollars from the mega deal.

Consistent with the terms of the transaction first announced in June last year, Verizon said it paid about 5.9 billion dollars for the equity of Alltel and assumed 22.2 billion dollars of its debt.

Verizon used a combination of cash generated from operations, Alltel cash, proceeds from capital markets transactions, and borrowings from lenders to make the acquisition.

"Following the completion of a series of financing transactions later today, Alltel and its subsidiaries will have reduced the debt that is owed to third parties to approximately 2.7 billion dollars, which is expected to decline further to approximately 2.5 billion dollars within the next 30 days," the statement said.

In markets that will be retained and combined with Verizon operations, the company will continue to use the Alltel brand for the next several months, as it works to integrate networks, convert billing systems and upgrade high-speed wireless broadband service.

Verizon will also maintain Alltel's existing GSM cellular networks in retained Alltel markets to continue serving the roaming needs of GSM carriers' customers.

Verizon said it would rebrand Alltel operations in the retained markets in phases, beginning in the second quarter of 2009 as billing conversions were completed throughout the country.

It added that Alltel employees "below executive level" would continue in their present jobs as Verizon assessed staffing needs required to best serve customers and achieve synergies.

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