Justice Department Requires Divestitures in Verizon’s Acquisition of Alltel

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice announced today that it will require Verizon Communications Corp. (Verizon) to divest assets in 100 areas in 22 states in order to proceed with its $28 billion acquisition of Alltel Corp. The Department said that the transaction as originally proposed would have substantially lessened competition to the detriment of consumers of mobile wireless telecommunications services in those areas, and likely would result in higher prices, lower quality and reduced network investments. The divestitures cover the entire states of North Dakota and South Dakota; large portions of the states of Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming; and portions of the states of Alabama, Arizona, California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.

The Department’s Antitrust Division, along with the Attorneys General of the states of Alabama, California, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, filed a civil lawsuit today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block the proposed acquisition of Alltel by Verizon. At the same time, the Department and state Attorneys General filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the competitive concerns in the lawsuit. Additionally, as a part of the settlement, the Department filed to modify two existing consent decrees. "The divestitures required are necessary to protect wireless customers and are among the most extensive required by the Department in a wireless case," said Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department’s Antitrust Division. More...