Verizon in talks to buy Alltel

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Verizon Communications is in talks to acquire No. 5 wireless carrier Alltel Corp. The deal, which could be valued at around $27 billion, is complex because it includes private equity firms that purchased Alltel last year in a $27.5 billion leveraged buyout. There is still some chance it won't come to fruition because of the sensitive nature of the deal.

The acquisition would make Verizon Wireless the largest U.S. operator with nearly 80 million subscribers. Verizon currently has more than 65.7 million customers while Alltel has about 13.2 million subscribers. AT&T, currently the largest U.S. operator, has about 71.4 million customers.

This isn't the first time that Verizon has looked at Alltel. The carrier considered buying the firm last year but felt Alltel's market value was inflated.

For more:
- see this WSJ story (sub. req.)