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Verizon Wireless to become largest carrier

Verizon Wireless has entered a purchasing agreement with Alltel and Atlantis Holdings LLC, an affiliate of private investment firm TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners, to buy Alltel in a cash merger valued at 28.1 billion.

The acquisition will make Verizon Communications the largest wireless service provider.

“This move will create an enhanced platform of network coverage, spectrum and customer care to better serve the growing needs of both Alltel and Verizon Wireless customers for reliable basic and advanced broadband wireless services,” said Lowell McAdam, Verizon Wireless president and chief executive officer.

Under the terms of the agreement, Verizon Wireless will gain the equity of Alltel for approximately $5.9 billion and Alltel’s projected net debt at closing of $22.2 billion, giving the transaction a value of $28.1 billion.

The parties are targeting completion of the merger by the end of the year, subject to prevailing upon regulatory approvals.

Alltel serves more than 13 million customers in 34 states, including North Carolina. Alltel’s network includes 57 primarily rural markets that Verizon Wireless does not serve.