Alltel buyout worth $24.8B

Associated Press
Published May 22, 2007

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A pair of investment firms have agreed to acquire Alltel Corp., the fifth-biggest U.S. wireless company and owner of the nation's largest geographic network, in a deal worth $24.8-billion.

The company announced Sunday that it had signed an agreement to be acquired by TPG Capital, formerly Texas Pacific Group, and GS Capital Partners, a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs. The investors also agreed to take on Alltel's $2.7-billion in debt.

"This transaction delivers substantial and certain value to our shareholders while providing the company with long-term partners who share our commitment to our customers, employees and the communities we serve, " Scott Ford, Alltel's chief executive, said in a news release.

The deal, if approved by shareholders and regulators, is expected to close during the fourth quarter this year or the first quarter of 2008, Alltel said.

Alltel has about 12-million cell phone customers, mainly in the South, West and Midwest. That ranks it fifth in number of customers, after Cingular, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, but the company's service "footprint" is larger than any of those rivals, Ford said.

The agreement calls for the two investment firms to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Alltel for $71.50 per share in cash, about a 10 percent premium over its closing price of $65.21 Friday.