Verizon, Alltel Get Antitrust Approval to Merge


Verizon Wireless won antitrust approval to purchase Alltel on the condition that it divest assets in 22 states, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.

The divestitures cover the entire states of North Dakota and South Dakota; large portions of Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming; and parts of Alabama, Arizona, California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia, the department said.

Verizon Wireless said in June it would buy rural mobile phone service provider Alltel for $28.1 billion, including debt, which would vault it to first place in the U.S. market ahead of AT&T .

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has said it will review the transaction at its Nov. 4 meeting. It is expected to approve the deal.

Verizon Wireless is 55 percent owned by Verizon Communications and 45 percent owned by Vodafone Group .