ATN Gets Some Alltel Leftovers

Verizon Wireless has sold off more Alltel Corp. (NYSE: AT)-related assets to Atlantic Tele-Network Inc. (ATN) for $200 million.

The deal gives Salem, Mass.-based ATN access to wireless spectrum licenses and network assets serving more than 800,000 subscribers primarily in rural areas across Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Ohio, and Idaho. Verizon Wireless is mandated to divest these properties as part of the regulatory requirements attached to its its purchase of Alltel earlier this year.

ATN expects to fund "substantially all of the purchase price with cash-on-hand and borrowings under its existing credit facility," the company said in a statement. The deal is subject to government approval and ATN expects to close it in the third or fourth quarter.

Verizon has already sold off a good chunk of the assets it was required to divest to AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). The No. 1 cellular operator is spending $2.35 billion to buy 79 of the 105 licenses Verizon has to let go. (See AT&T Buys Some Verizon-Alltel Assets.) Verizon has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to give it until July 8 to sell the remaining licenses, and this latest deal with ATN gets it a good way toward that aim.

So far, the licenses are said to have attracted interest from private equity groups as well as carriers. (See Who Will Buy Verizon's Alltel Leftovers?)

– Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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