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Verizon to buy Alltel for $28.1 Billion

Discussion in 'Wireless News' started by Shockwave13, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. T Sizzles

    T Sizzles Senior Member
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    I see a T-Mobile/Alltel or USCC/Altell combination more likley.
     
  2. KyleAndMelissa22

    KyleAndMelissa22 Woot Woot, Splat !!!
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    I agree with a USCC/Alltel merger idea.

    But T-Mobile & Alltel....theres just no point...
    both use different technologies (GSM vs CDMA) as well as different bands (850 vs 1900).

    T-Mobile and Sprint don't want or need 850 spectrum, at least that's what I've been hearing.
     
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  3. JFB

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  4. KyleAndMelissa22

    KyleAndMelissa22 Woot Woot, Splat !!!
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    It's up to TPG & GS if they want to put Alltel up for sale.
    They know possibly what Verizon will do, and the harm it could cause to the wireless industry.
    So IMO, they should hold onto Alltel and protect it like a ton of gold.
     
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  5. RadioFoneGuy

    RadioFoneGuy Powered by HTC FUZE
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    I wish Alltel would snap up Cricket or Metro so they can get in to the Cities.
     
  6. cellular_freak

    cellular_freak Senior Member
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    I didn't know that Alltel sold that market to Verizon. Are you talking about the one that had to be divested when the merger between ATTWS and Cingular occurred? And if so, when did this happen?
     
  7. T Sizzles

    T Sizzles Senior Member
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    T-Mobile doesn't use 850 spectrum at all. It'd be interesting to see T-Mobile and Alltel merge, as both are on the LTE bandwagon. That would make 3 massive LTE networks.
     
  8. KyleAndMelissa22

    KyleAndMelissa22 Woot Woot, Splat !!!
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    Does anyone know if Verizon would honor My Circle, if they did buy Alltel.
    I'd really freak out at Verizon if they try to take My Circle away.
    I believe that as long as my service & account are active, My Circle is here to stay.

    There'd be way too many angry customers.
     
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  9. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    Oh I doubt that. Verizon will most certainly go after USCC as their next target before Sprint would have any chance. :rolleyes: The rich keep getting richer.

    Do we all really want to see reduced competition and future higher prices? Be careful what you wish for.
     
  10. tmobileman

    tmobileman Iphone Hater
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    My personal opinion is that if the deal does go through then the speculation about the tmobile buying sprint will also have to go ahead. I mean I think it would almost HAVE to at that point, what a crazy business we are in.
     
  11. UFO

    UFO Bronze Senior Member
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    That's the one in Litchfield Co., CT. It's been talked about in the alltel forums since back around November. But just on May 31 or June 1 were all new activations directed to Verizon. Here's one thread I've kept up with on it. Apparently all alltel's customers were stripped of My Circle and given some bonus minutes to replace it. :(

    If that were to happen, I'd have to go to Sprint or T-Mobile to keep a reasonable bill, not out of protest, just to keep from upping my bill by a signficant amount... I just ordered a PPC off of ebay too... dratz. :(
     
  12. AndThenScottSays...

    AndThenScottSays... Junior Member
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    My contract ended in April and I knew there was just some reason why I wasn't renewing or buying a new phone. If this deal goes through, there should be a free large size tub of Vaseline to every Alltel customer to assist in the transition when Verizon plans take effect.

    The T-Mobile/SunCom deal should be complete and stores rebranded right about the time the Alltel/Verizon crap hits the fan. Some things just work out too great! Hi T-Mobile. I'm Scott, I've been a happy prepay customer for a year now. Would you help me go ahead and convert that to a postpaid Blackberry?
     
  13. RJB

    RJB Gold Senior Member
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    After I read all these it kept saying alltel investors didnt see a huge return on their profits. That is making me think they do want out.
     
  14. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    I hope this doesn't go through. I much rather see Alltel become a national carrier on its own by buying spectrum and buying smaller carriers like USCC, Cricket and Metro PCS. But I've been wishing this for the longest and Alltel shows no signs of wanting to become national so I lost my hope in them. Although I would hate them being bought by Verizon, I think this is a very likely scenario being that Verizon is desperate to regain the #1 spot, plus it makes sense for them to gain all those rural areas where Verizon is weak.
     
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  15. spleck

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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    It was my understanding that:
    The investors had to borrow money to buy Alltel.
    Lending forecasts are not good.
    They have increased their equity stake in Alltel by paying off debt.
    Analysts (and Verizon) believe they overpaid last year for Alltel.
    Selling Alltel now would result in a small profit, while holding on to it would be risky.

    Verizon didn't buy Alltel last year because they thought it was overvalued. With Alltel's higher EBITDA, Verizon sees them as worth the purchase price.

    Everyone looks at this merger and judges what's good for the industry, but most companies/shareholders look at what's best for their company. Any of the big carriers would love to drive their competitors into the ground--if they get a chance to make a buy that helps them towards that goal, they'll take it.

    Edit: Here's the important financial info from NYT:
     
  16. Dogma

    Dogma Senior Member
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    I disagree. TPG & GS are going to take a "short sale" and not make a return on investment. With Verizon and AT&T buying billions in the latest 700 MHz auction, Alltel's value went down IMO. Eventually those two companies could build their own networks out with the spectrum they bought, and not need Alltel for roaming.

    My opinion always was that if Alltel did not buy spectrum in the 700 auction, they were in trouble. The private equity firms see the writing on the wall, and are cutting their losses. Its obvious they don't plan on expansion in buying up smaller carriers.
     
  17. fb

    fb Senior Member
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  18. BillRadio

    BillRadio Wireless Consultant
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    Verizon to Buy Alltel After All

    This certainly will change the coverage landscape of the west. In some areas VZW will need to spin off the Alltel areas to someone else. Probably not AT&T. Let the fun begin!

    CNBC Story

    Blog with more story Links
     
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  19. fb

    fb Senior Member
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  20. AnthroMatt

    AnthroMatt Big Meanie
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    Re: Verizon to Buy Alltel After All

    Maybe it is just semantics, but why would VZW need to spin off the Alltel areas? Couldn't VZW keep Alltel and divest their own previous holdings?
     
  21. JFB

    JFB Gold Senior Member
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    Re: Verizon to Buy Alltel After All

    Here is the full text of Verizon's Press Release:

    =========================================
     
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  22. T Sizzles

    T Sizzles Senior Member
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    Re: Verizon to Buy Alltel After All

    I would be suprised if the feds approved this move. This is terrible news for Sprint, they might be on life support now.
     
  23. ndtoddman

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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    I can see it now- The new Alltel Commercial: with a mighty stroke of the Wizards staff and a poof of smoke...then, when the smoke clears he and Chad will be standing in the unemployment line.
     
  24. zdoyle35

    zdoyle35 Junior Member
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    Guys This is from the wall street journal


    Verizon Wireless Agrees
    To Buy Alltel for $28.1 Billion
    Banks Stuck With LBO Debt Pushed for a Deal
    By AMOL SHARMA, DENNIS K. BERMAN and SERENA NG
    June 5, 2008 11:09 a.m.

    Verizon Wireless agreed to acquire regional wireless carrier Alltel Corp. in a deal worth $28.1 billion, including the assumption of $22.2 billion in debt, a combination that creates the U.S.'s largest cellphone company and a more potent rival to AT&T Inc.

    Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Vodafone Group Plc and Verizon Communications Inc., will acquire the equity of Alltel for $5.9 billion and payoff the company's oustanding debt. The companies hope to complete the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, by the end of the year.


    "This is a perfect fit, with Alltel's high-value post-paid customer base, its solid financials, our common network technology, and significant, readily attainable synergies," said Verizon Communications Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg.

    The deal comes just seven months after Alltel was sold to TPG Capital and a unit of Goldman Sachs Group in a $27.5 billion leveraged buyout. The rapid resale is a powerful sign of how the credit crunch is roiling the business world.

    Lenders who financed last year's buyout—a separate arm of Goldman Sachs, Citigroup Inc., Barclays PLC and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC—have had trouble reducing their exposure to that deal, according to the people familiar with the talks. That wasa driving force in the current discussions, these people say.

    Usually, lenders on big acquisitions try to sell much or all of the debt to other investors. But the credit crunch has made it much harder to find buyers. The lenders on last year's deal still hold roughly $20 billion of loans and bond financing, and investor skittishness means the debt is no longer worth what it was last year, these people say. They see a sale to Verizon, in which the debt would likely be retired, as a way to cut potential losses on the financing.

    Both of Alltel's current owners have some incentive to make that happen. Goldman would benefit in its role as a lender. And TPG has been buying debt from the banks at a significant discount to face value, says a person familiar with the matter. That means it could profit on those investments if Alltel finds a buyer who retires that debt at par, or perhaps higher.

    The deal would turn Verizon Wireless into a behemoth carrier with more than 80 million customers, including Alltel's 13.2 million subscribers as of the first quarter. AT&T, currently the nation's largest cellphone operator, had 71.4 million customers as of its last quarterly report.

    Verizon said it expects to save about $1 billion in the first two years through administrative cuts and by eliminating roaming fees currently paid to Alltel.

    For U.K. giant Vodafone, which owns a 45% stake in Verizon Wireless, one negative aspect of the deal is that it likely would push further out the date by which Verizon Wireless would start repaying dividends to Vodafone.

    FURTHER READING


    • Deal Journal: Should Alltel Be Counted as a Busted LBO?
    • Alltel Posts Loss on Merger Charges
    05/15/08
    • Wireless Unit Spurs Verizon Growth
    04/29/08Executives at Newbury, England-based Vodafone executives recently have said they expect Verizon Wireless to work down its debt by late 2009 or early 2010, at which point dividend payments could start up again. But, the acquisition of Alltel could push out the resumption of dividend payments by two or three years, wrote J.P. Morgan analysts in a research note Thursday.

    The deal could spark investors to question the attractiveness of Vodafone retaining its stake in Verizon Wireless. Verizon and Vodafone talked in recent years about a possible deal, but weren't able to agree on a price for Vodafone's stake. Vodafone's Chief Executive Arun Sarin, who recently said he planned to step down in July, has defended his decision to hold on to the Verizon Wireless stake, pointing to the rapid growth in the U.S. wireless industry in the past several years.

    The deal comes as the U.S. wireless industry faces an increasingly saturated market. About four in five U.S. consumers own a cellphone, according to the Federal Communications Commission. The main drivers of growth for the large carriers are making acquisitions or selling new mobile-data services such as Web access for phones.

    AT&T and Verizon have also benefited from the sluggish performance of the No. 3. carrier, Sprint Nextel Corp. The two companies have poached millions of customers from Sprint over the past year, but analysts see that as a temporary trend. "We are concerned that as industry growth continues to slow, Sprint's market-share losses will not be able to provide support forever," Morgan Stanley analyst Simon Flannery wrote in a research note Wednesday.

    In order for the Alltel deal to pass muster with regulators, Verizon would likely have to divest itself of some regional assets, where its coverage overlaps significantly with Alltel or where both carriers are major players, people close to the talks say. The Department of Justice and the FCC would have to give nods to a merger.

    Still, initial reaction from consumer groups was positive. "We'll ask for a careful review, but I don't see enormous antitrust problems," says Gene Kimmelman, vice president of federal and international affairs at Consumers Union.

    Verizon was among the companies that considered buying Alltel last year when the company put itself on the block. But it ultimately concluded that the resulting increase in Alltel's share price made a deal too expensive. That provided an opening for private-equity firms, whose business it is to buy companies and later resell them at a profit.

    Since the credit squeeze began last year, banks have been eager to escape financing commitments struck during the private-equity lending boom. Some lenders have used lawsuits and threats to win new terms.

    If an acquisition takes place, most of Alltel's loans and bonds would be redeemed at close to their full value, which would mean significant profits for investors who bought the debt at recent market prices of 90 cents on the dollar or less. Verizon is likely to issue new debt at lower interest rates.


    "It will be good for Alltel debt holders if the company is owned by a stronger firm with a better balance sheet," says Zhiping Zhao, an analyst at CreditSights, a New York debt-research firm.

    The price is roughly the same as the price paid in last year's buyout. Even so, Verizon may be getting a good deal. Alltel has performed well since the deal was completed, meaning Verizon could get more bang for its buck now. In the first quarter, Alltel posted an 18% increase in earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization.

    The Alltel deal is the latest in a long line of mergers engineered by Mr. Seidenberg. It is the second big-ticket transaction this year by Verizon Wireless, following its purchase of more than $9 billion in radio spectrum at a FCC auction.

    Some analysts say they aren't concerned about Verizon's spending spree, noting that the company isn't carrying a heavy amount of debt relative to its earnings.

    After last year's leveraged buyout, Alltel Chief Executive Scott Ford stayed on to run the company. Mr. Ford will stay in his current role until the merger is completed, the companies said.

    The sale could raise questions about Goldman's multiple roles in the deal: as a private-equity investor in last year's deal; as a provider of financing for it; and as an adviser to Alltel on the potential sale to Verizon.

    A number of Wall Street banks have established investment arms in recent years. The banks often argue that they aren't conflicted in such situations because the interests of their private-equity investors are aligned with those of the bank itself.

    In the case of Alltel, Goldman Sachs's interests as a lender could potentially diverge from those of investors in its private-equity fund. The bank is likely eager to cleanse its balance sheet of the billions in debt it has been unable to unload from the deal. But private-equity investors, who expect high returns over a long period, might not want to cash out six months after the original deal was struck. "It's clearly a challenge," says one senior banker familiar with the discussions.

    A spokesman for Goldman declined to comment on the matter.

    --—Andrew LaVallee, Matthew Karnitschnig, Vishesh Kumar and Cassell Bryan-Low contributed to this article.

    Write to Amol Sharma at amol.sharma@wsj.com, Dennis K. Berman at dennis.berman@wsj.com and Serena Ng at serena.ng@wsj.com
     
  25. Kalimotxo

    Kalimotxo Bronze Senior Member
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    I just read the news and I was shocked... I know we've had several discussions here on WA about how VZW/Alltel would be the "dream carrier"....There would be a lot of good and bad in this... here in Virginia I believe that a merger would be beneficial... VZW really needs Alltel to get a better footprint and fill in some major holes in places like cville. On the other hand, alltel customers will likely have their phones and services "verizonized" ... which can be good or bad depending on your opinion.

    Either way this merger is big big big. The implications are huge and will rock the wireless industry....
     
  26. COtech

    COtech Bronze Senior Member
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    I was surprised when Alltel passed up both of the FCC's recent auctions (AWS 1700/2100 MHz, and 700 MHz). That showed no inclination to future growth, in my mind.

    COtech
     
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  27. agentHibby

    agentHibby Iowa Cellular Guru
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    The Alltel pros
    in most markets they the superior network where they service customers.
    My Circle is one of the best plans out there.
    Alltel makes alot of money on roaming due to having both CDMA and GSM networks for AT&T VZW Sprint T-Mobile and others.

    The Alltel cons
    They lost many PCS licenses to VZW in 2000.
    They have hardly any markets that Alltel is currently offering PCS only wireless service.
    They have several areas that they have a PCS network and don't let there customers use it like in Green Bay, WI; Dubuque, IA second license; Cedar Falls, IA; and others

    I think the biggest reason is lack of licenses in Metro Markets that are high roaming for Alltel like Denver, Salt Lake to Logan UT, Des Moines, St. Paul, Dallas, Kansas City, Atlanta, Detriot and others.
     
  28. agentHibby

    agentHibby Iowa Cellular Guru
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    I say he will do more commercials for Hardees :rasp:
     
  29. Fathead

    Fathead In the Industry
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    Re: Verizon in talks to buy ALLTEL

    Wow. This is probably good for Verizon users. I expect mycircle users will be able to keep their plans grandfathered, but they'll lose it when if they every change their account at all.



    I wonder how much divestment will be required. They'll own both cellular blocks here in East ID.
     
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  30. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    Re: Verizon to Buy Alltel After All

    Well either way they will still have to divest some areas to another carrier right? Obviously that will be AT&T. :rolleyes:

    Isn't anyone worried about higher prices in store for the future??

    Sadly I think this is going to cause Sprint to be acquired by someone now which will also further reduce competition and lead to higher prices.
     

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