Verizon-Alltel merger approved by DOJ, but with conditions

The United States Department of Justice has conditionally approved Verizon's acquisition of Alltel, provided Verizon divests from 100 markets.

Verizon and Alltel issued joint statements last summer announcing the $28.1 billion acquisition. The combination would result in the single largest mobile network in the United States. As such, the Antitrust Division of the U.S Department of Justice has also required one of the biggest mobile sell-offs thus far in order for the merger to take place.

Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division said, "The divestitures required are necessary to protect wireless customers and are among the most extensive required by the Department in a wireless case."

Without the mandatory divestitures, the department considers the merger to be a substantial blow to competition that would be a detriment to consumers. The group, along with the Attorneys General of seven U.S. states, therefore filed a civil lawsuit in Washington DC yesterday to block the merger if Verizon does not vacate 94 cellular marketing areas where Verizon and Alltel are each other's closest competitor, as determined by the FCC.

The FCC's review of the case is scheduled for Tuesday of next week.

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