Verizon is "deep in talks" to buy Alltel for $27 Billion, according to CNBC. VZW has courted the nation's number five cellular carrier before, but didn't bid when Alltel was on the auction block back in Spring of 2007. Word is that VZW thought Alltel's valuation was too high at the time. Now it seems that with the change in credit markets over the past year, Verizon could snatch Alltel up for right around the $27.5B TPG and Goldman Sachs paid for the carrier in a deal that closed in November of last year.
The acquisition would make sense for Verizon not only because it would vault VZW to the #1 carrier position in the US, but also because both Alltel and Verizon use the CDMA nework protocol. Acquiring Alltel would essentially extend VZW's cellular coverage and free them from having to pay roaming fees when their customers venture out of VZW coverage into Alltel-only territory. Verizon would of course also lay claim to Alltel's 13.2 million subscribers, given them a total head count over 80 million - enough to surpass AT&T's 71.4 million for first place on the U.S. cellular subscriber leaderboard.