Verizon Maintains $28.1B Deal to Acquire Alltel Going Forward

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Verizon Wireless maintains its $28.1 billion deal to acquire Little Rock-based Alltel Corp. is still on track.

While the financial climate has steadily worsened since the two companies reached an agreement in June, Verizon still plans to close by year's end and become the largest wireless carrier in the country.

Verizon spokeswoman Robin Nicol says the deal remains on schedule. But some wonder. Bill Densmore of Fitch Ratings, which evaluates companies' financial strength for credit markets, says considering the size of the deal and the significant risk involved, it would be surprising to see it close.

However, Fitch Ratings says ultimately Verizon should be able to reach agreements with federal regulators.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)