Who Will Buy Verizon's Alltel Leftovers?
With AT&T grabbing the bulk of the markets, however, it is less clear who a potential buyer -- or buyers -- might be. Technology Business Research Inc. (TBR) analyst John Byrne is expecting less carrier interest now that AT&T has put its brand on many of the rural sites.
"There aren't really a whole lot of candidates among the carriers," Byrne tells Unstrung. "T-Mobile USA could be a possibility if the price was right, I guess, but there's been no indication that they are interested."
He adds: "The only other possible candidates would be Leap and MetroPCS, but they are both focused in on mid-size or large market buildouts, so [it's] very doubtful either one of them would be interested in the remaining Verizon markets."
Before the AT&T deal became concrete, some private equity firms were reportedly interested in picking up the rural assets that Verizon had to sell off. Byrne, however, thinks that Verizon will struggle to get a value roughly equivalent to the markets that AT&T wants for the remaining sites, particularly if private equity firms are in on the deal.
"Private equity could still be a possibility, but with the cream of the crop now taken, they would be looking for a much lower valuation on the remaining markets," he says. "So I would not expect anything close to $1 billion if a private equity firm or firms bought the rest of the markets."
In April, Verizon asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to extend its deadline for selling the assets until July 8.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung