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Alltel in multi-billion dollar buyout

TPG Capital and GSCP tag-team mobile operator

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TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners (GSCP) have agreed a deal to purchase US mobile operator Alltel in a $27.5bn deal.

The agreement will see the investment firms acquire all outstanding Alltel stock for $71.50 per share, which represents a 23 percent premium on Alltel's closing price prior to the first time it was touted as a buyout target on 29 December.

Alltel has 12 million subscribers in 35 states in the US, mostly in the West, Midwest and South of the country.

If completed, the deal will be one of the largest private equity transactions ever made. The mobile operator expects the sale to be finalised by the fourth quarter of 2007 or by the first quarter of 2008. Completion of the deal is contingent upon customary closing conditions, including approval by Alltel's shareholders and regulatory approvals. Shareholders will be asked to vote on the proposed transaction at a special meeting that will be held on a date that has yet to be announced.

"This transaction delivers substantial and certain value to our shareholders, while providing the company with long-term partners who share our commitment to our customers, employees and the communities we serve," said Scott Ford, chief executive of Alltel, will remain on as chief executive after the takeover is complete.

"TPG and GSCP are long-term investors who are willing to make the investments necessary to continue to grow our wireless business in all of our markets. This transaction also ensures our customers can continue to rely on Alltel to deliver high-quality service and leading edge products and services," he said.

"We are excited about this opportunity to partner with an exceptional management team to continue to support their strategies for growth," said Richard Friedman, head of the Merchant Banking Division at Goldman Sachs.

The deal comes nearly a year to the day of Eircom's directors approving its takeover by an investment house. The private equity deal saw Australian investors Babcock & Brown acquire the telecoms operator in a €2.4bn deal.

Copyright © 2007, ENN

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