Report: Verizon Wireless eyes Alltel purchase

Deal would create largest U.S. wireless carrier

Verizon Wireless is considering an acquisition of wireless provider Alltel Corp. in a deal that would be valued at about $27 billion, according to a Wall Street Journal report late today.

Verizon and Alltel, if combined, would create a carrier with about 80 million subscribers. Current front-runner AT&T Inc. has more than 71 million customers.

A Verizon-Alltel deal would likely raise antitrust concerns that would be considered by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission, according to The Wall Street Journal report on the matter.

The Journal cited people familiar with the matter, but officials at both Alltel and Verizon could not be reached immediately for comment.

Just over a year ago, Alltel agreed to be bought out by TPG Capital LLP and the private equity division of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. That deal was valued at $27.5 billion at the time it was announced in May 2007.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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