Friday, April 10, 2009

The Alltel Auction

Bloomberg.com reported earlier this week that there were 4 bidders for the Alltel properties that must be divested by Verizon Wireless. In a quiet auction, the list of potential buyers includes AT&T, US Cellular, the Blackstone Group, and a joint bid from KKR & Co. and Carlyle Group. Missing from the report is Cox Communications who, as recently as 2 months ago, was reported to be considering the Alltel assets. Reuters reports that Verizon Wireless claimed there were 30 bidders showing interest in various Alltel properties.

Whew, it's a relief that US Cellular is still in the running. It's also good news that an investment group is making a bid, although there is no guarantee that they will keep the Alltel network separate. They could just slice up the pieces and re-sell them to bidders that couldn't afford the bigger package. For consumers, it would be beneficial if these investors would keep the Alltel network independent, but we could also benefit if these properties were combined with another network, maybe even US Cellular. But the business world rarely makes that kind of sense. It's all about the money. And there may be bidders we'll never know about.

Verizon Wireless has about a month left to identify the buyers before the feds take over. Nobody wants that to happen. The taxpayers have a bunch of toxic assets on our hands, already.

1 comment:

Bill Radio said...

This story has been updated and corrected to read that there were 4 bidders in the auction, 2 of which were different investment firms.