The U.S. Justice Department gave Verizon Wireless the thumbs-up to merge with Alltel, as long as it divests assets in 22 states.
The deal still requires approval from the FCC, which is expected to approve the combination at a Nov. 4 meeting.
The divestitures required by the Justice Department cover all 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.
Under the deal, Verizon Wireless would acquire the equity of Alltel for $5.9 billion and take on an estimated $22.2 billion in debt, mostly incurred when Alltel was taken private in November in a leveraged buyout by TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs Group.
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