Verizon Wireless agrees to buy Alltel for $5.9B - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Verizon Wireless agrees to buy Alltel for $5.9B

NEW YORK (AP) - Verizon Wireless has agreed to buy Alltel Corp. for $5.9 billion, which would make it by far the largest cellular carrier in the U.S.

Verizon Wireless said Thursday it would assume $22.2 billion in debt in the deal, bringing the total value to $28.1 billion.

Alltel has 13.2 million subscribers in 34 states, mainly in rural areas away from the coasts. Added to Verizon Wireless 67.2 million subscribers, the size of the combined company would surpass AT&T Inc., with 71.4 million subscribers.

The parties expect the deal to close by the end of the year, pending regulatory approvals. The deal is likely to face scrutiny by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, but analysts expect it to pass.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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