Alltel shareholders approve $24.7b buyout

Shareholders of US wireless company Alltel overwhelmingly approved a $24.7 billion buyout that put the wireless company in the hands of two private investor groups, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the firm's CEO Scott Ford presided over the two-minute meeting, which he described as 'our final shareholders meeting.'

A tally counted 97.1% of the shares in favor of the takeover, Ford said, to mild cheers.

Alltel has been the subject of takeover rumors for years, the report said.

The company announced in February that it was undertaking a 'strategic review,' signaling the fifth-largest US wireless company was in play, the report added.

The buyout must still be approved by the Federal Communications Commission. The sale should close by the end of the year, Alltel spokesman Andrew Moreau said.

Alltel entered the transaction with only $2.7 billion in debt and was near completion of a $3 billion share repurchase program. The new private company will now carry an estimated $23 billion in debt, to finance the buyout.