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Moneybags Verizon swoops in, swipes Straight Path from AT&T with a $3.1bn pot of gold

They won't love you like I love you, sniffs Ma Bell

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Just one month after announcing a $1.7bn acquisition deal with AT&T, 5G spectrum holder Straight Path now says it is instead inking a $3.1bn deal with Verizon.

The telco giant announced on Wednesday that it would be paying $184.00 per share in an all-stock acquisition deal. Pending shareholders' and US comms watchdog the FCC's approvals, Verizon expects the acquisition to close in roughly 9 months.

Based in Virginia, Straight Path holds the spectrum rights nationwide for the 39 GHz band, and rights to the 28 Ghz band in a number of large cities and metro areas around the country, as those bands are also being used for early 5G networks, Straight Path has become a hot property for larger telcos.

"Verizon now has all of the pieces in place to quickly accelerate the deployment of 5G," Verizon EVP and VP of global network and technology Hans Vestberg said of the deal.

"Combined with our recent transactions with Corning Incorporated, XO Communications, and Prysmian Group, this is another step to build the next-generation network for our customers."

This just weeks after AT&T was thought to have made an acquisition deal of its own with Straight Path – going so far as to kick out a press release announcing it would be paying $1.6bn to acquire all shares.

That, deal, however, was not finalized, and Verizon subsequently stepped in to kick off a bidding war that ended with the per-share price ballooning from $95.63 under AT&T to $184 from Verizon. In the process, Straight Path shareholders managed to get their total payout nearly doubled in a little over four weeks.

"The Straight Path board of directors determined, in good faith, after consultation with its financial advisors and outside legal advisors, that the transaction with Verizon constituted a Superior Proposal under the AT&T Merger Agreement," Straight Path said.

"AT&T informed Straight Path that after much deliberation, it has determined not to make any new bids or proposals to Straight Path or to propose any amendments to the AT&T Merger Agreement."

Straight Path says Verizon will be paying $38m to AT&T to cover the termination fee on their agreement. ®

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