FCC OKs $24.7B Alltel Buyout to Private Group

But wireless carrier's new owner faces "unnecessary" restrictions, commish says
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2007 11:34 AM CDT
An Alltel Corp., employee demonstrates a new wireless device at a Little Rock, Ark., store in this Feb. 20, 2007 file photo. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, file)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The FCC approved a $24.7 billion takeover of Alltel yesterday, but not without imposing some restrictions on the deal and criticism from two of its top officials. Alltel, the nation’s fifth-largest wireless carrier, will now transfer its licenses to TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners, a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, and its shareholders will bank $71.50/share, the AP reports.

The FCC said the swap won’t threaten competition in the cell phone market but still voted to cap the amount of money Alltel’s new owner receives until it embraces “fundamental comprehensive reforms.” The agency’s Democratic and Republican commissioners slammed the restrictions, calling them “counterproductive” and “unnecessary.” Alltel, which serves mainly rural areas, expects the deal to close by Thanksgiving.