for $71.50 per share. The news of the Alltel buyout is also driving up the shares of other domestic, rural wireless carriers. Christoper Larsen, analyst at Credit Suisse, appeared on “Morning Call” to discuss other possible wireless carriers stirring private-equity interest.
“We saw a number of private equity guys looking to do the Alltel deal, so I think they are going to say, ‘we have an appetite for this and let’s look around and see if there is anything else we could do’,” said Larsen. He thinks the notion of Alltel being bought by private equity was Wall Street’s “worst kept secret.”
Larsen sees Dobson Communications, Centennial Communications, Rural Cellular and TDS as possible private-equity takeover targets, but says TDS is the least likely candidate to go private because it is family-controlled.
“One that gets thrown out there a lot as a takeover candidate is Sprint,” said Larsen. However, he added, “keep in mind it is three times the size of Alltel, so I don’t know if private equity will rush in to take over, particularly with the operational issues.”