Reports: Verizon in Talks to Buy Alltel

The big story of the afternoon? A report offered first by cable business news network CNBC that said Verizon is in talks to purchase Alltel Corp. of Little Rock for $27 billion — a deal similar in size to the one that Alltel sealed with a pair of private equity firms late last year to take the then-publicly traded wireless firm private.

Both Alltel and Verizon say “no comment” to the reports, since echoed by the independent reporting of the Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the New York Times. The Wall Street Journal even notes that talks are in a “sensitive stage,” and could be in jeopardy due to Wednesday afternoon’s leaks to the media.

The stakes are obvious: more than 3,000 Alltel employees in Little Rock. Alltel’s management team was widely praised locally by reaching the best possible deal it could last year, when they sold the rural wireless firm to private equity groups, instead of a larger competitor like Verizon. That meant that most Alltel jobs were likely to remain in Little Rock. A Verizon acquisition of Alltel now would throw the fate of those jobs in the air once again.

Meanwhile, Verizon sees an opportunity to leapfrog over competitor AT&T, the nation’s largest wireless firm. Current No. 2 Verizon would add Alltel’s 13 million subscribers to its 67 million, putting it well ahead of AT&T’s 71 million customers.

But don’t pretend like you’re not wondering what would happen to Chad, Alltel’s ubiquitous spokesgeek. Somewhere, he’s likely calling the Dell dude for advice.

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One Response

  1. […] Verizon to Buy Alltel for $28 Billion Posted on June 5, 2008 by lanceturner That thing we mentioned yesterday? It […]

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