Verizon says Alltel deal on track for end of year

It would be a non-news news story to say that Verizon is on track to spend $28.1 billion to acquire Alltel by the end of the year if it weren't for a tanking economy and a less-than-sureshot regulatory environment. That painful combination makes the carrier's announcement that it's going ahead with the deal newsworthy. Verizon spokeswoman Robin Nicol says the deal remains on schedule.

Verizon Wireless announced the deal during a somewhat friendlier economic climate in June and has been under an analytical microscope as financial markets worsened and the size of the deal became riskier.

When closed--both financially and via federal regulatory approval--the acquisition would make Verizon the nation's largest wireless carrier. When the deal was announced, analysts speculated about its impact on Sprint Nextel, which will drop to a distant third and AT&T, which might need to do some acquiring of its own to keep pace. The market conditions, and Verizon Wireless' apparently bold intent to plow ahead, has quelled that speculation--at least as much as that type of speculation is ever quelled.

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