Verizon says Alltel deal to close Jan. 9

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Verizon Wireless says in a regulatory filing it will close on its $5.9 billion acquisition Alltel Corp. on January 9.

The deal, which as announced in June, will make Verizon Wireless the country's largest wireless carrier, with about 78 million subscribers. Little Rock-based Alltel has about 3,000 workers in the capital city, and many of the best paying of those positions are expected to be lost after the deal goes through. When Verizon President and Chief Executive Lowell McAdam addressed an audience in Little Rock in August, he said it would take a year after the closing to assess which positions to keep and which to cut.

Verizon Wireless had initially hoped to close the deal before the end of 2008, but the regulatory review stretched into December, later than expected. To gain approval for the deal, Verizon Wireless pledged to sell assets where its network overlaps with Alltel's. In addition to paying $5.9 billion for Alltel's privately held equity, Verizon Wireless is assuming $22.2 billion in debt. Despite the difficult credit markets, Verizon said in December that it had received commitments from eight institutions to provide $17 billion of financing. Verizon says it will locate a call center in Little Rock.

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