Update-6/5/2008 – As of 10:00a ET, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Verizon and Alltel have come to terms on a sale, with Verizon offering $5.9 billion and the assumption of $22.2 billion in debt. More to follow soon.
There is a rumor floating around that Verizon is in talks to purchase Alltel Wireless for $27 billion. If the rumor holds true, a Verizon acquisition of Alltel would create the largest U.S. wireless carrier, surpassing the current leader AT&T, with a combined 80 million subscribers. AT&T currently has about 72 million subscribers. Such a move would have interesting competitive implications. For example, it may open the door for other interested carriers, wireline or wireless, to gain or expand wireless assets because anti-trust concerns will certainly force Verizon and Alltel to shed some overlapping or dominant territory. Secondly, it would expand the Verizon footprint and brand into more rural territories and perhaps impact wireless substitution there. Much more information to come on this potential blockbuster deal.