Verizon needs more time to complete the Alltel merger
To ensure Verizon's merger with Alltel was a pro-competitive move, the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice required that Verizon divest from 105 mobile markets where Verizon and Alltel services overlapped. The merger will make Verizon the largest mobile carrier in the United States, and this mandate constitutes the biggest divestiture Verizon Wireless has had to execute in its nine years of existence.
Because the action is so large and complex, (each marketing area has approximately 200 pages worth of assets to auction off) Verizon has filed for an extension with the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, asking for another 60 days to complete the divestitures.
The poor state of the economy is also slowing down Verizon's situation. According to the company's letter to the bureau (PDF available here), Verizon had 70 prospective buyers for the divested markets, each of whom wanted extra due diligence and data before placing their bids. Even though Verizon requested that all bids be submitted by March, it could not get the bidders' data out in time.
"Although the company has diligently managed the divestiture process, the sheer size and complexity of the divestitures coupled with the current economic conditions have forced bidders to conduct far more due diligence than usual. This has made it impossible to complete the divestitures within the initial 120-day period," the company's filing says.