US wireless firm Alltel goes private in $24.7b deal

Alltel, the fifth-largest wireless carrier in the US, was taken private to complete a $24.7 billion buyout by two private equity groups, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the deal earlier won approval of shareholders and was cleared by the Federal Communications Commission.

There are concerns that the debt burden that Alltel will carry to finance the buyout, $23 billion, will limit its ability to grow, however.

The report quoted the company as saying in an earlier filing that it intends to take part in a January 24 auction of the wireless spectrum, which is to provide room for companies to expand their offerings. The filing notes that there is no guarantee that Alltel will be a successful bidder.

TPG Capital, formerly Texas Pacific Group, and GS Capital Partners, a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, are paying Alltel shareholders $71.50 per share in cash, according to the terms of the deal.

The report further said Alltel announced earlier that company president and CEO Scott Ford would remain in that capacity, although some other executives were being shuffled.