DOJ Approves Verizon's Acquisition of Alltel

The Department of Justice approved Verizon Wireless’ $28 billion purchase of Alltel, but the deal is subject to a few stipulations. More specifically, Verizon Wireless will be required to divest wireless assets in 100 markets encompassing 22 states. The sale of assets doesn’t mean Verizon Wireless will lose service in the areas affected by the order. Instead, it means Verizon Wireless will sell licenses where the merger with Alltel would give the company duplicate licenses.

The entire states of North Dakota and South Dakota; major portions of Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming; and sections of Alabama, Arizona, California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia are included in the divestiture.

“The divestitures required are necessary to protect wireless customers and are among the most extensive required by the department in a wireless case,” said Thomas Barnett, assistant attorney general in charge of the antitrust division.

Given that Verizon Wireless has already indicated a willingness to shed some markets to seal the deal, there’s a good chance the divestures won’t be a big deal.

Verizon Wireless is supportive of the order and pleased its merger is being endorsed by regulators, said company spokesman Jim Gerace.

The FCC will vote on the deal November 4 and is expected to call for similar wireless divestitures as those announced by the Justice Department. Assuming the FCC signs off on the merger, Verizon Wireless will leap ahead of AT&T as the nation’s largest mobile carrier.
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