Earlier this week, we reported that Frontier had gained approval from Washington State for their acquisition of Verizon’s local assets of Verizon. We can now add Illinois to the approval column, leaving West Virginia and the FCC as the only remaining approvals to formally confirm the $8.5 billion transaction.
While not unexpected, Illinois’ approval was not without some drama. Back in March, an Illinois administrative law judge formally opposed the deal, arguing Frontier’s debt load to complete the deal would “… diminish Frontier’s ability to perform its duties to provide adequate, reliable, efficient, safe and least-cost public utility service.” In response Verizon and Frontier flexed their considerable lobbying muscle to get the deal done.
Verizon and Frontier will need a repeat performance in West Virginia, where considerable opposition remains. Telecom worker unions have been organizing to oppose the deal and there is resistance within some quarters of West Virginia state government. In the end, the deal will get done, but not without some concessions.