UPDATE 2-AT&T nears deal to buy some Alltel assets -sources

Fri May 8, 2009 4:23pm EDT

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 (Adds details on other bidders in paragraph 2)
 PHILADELPHIA, May 8 (Reuters) - AT&T Inc (T.N) is close to
a $2.5 billion deal to acquire the bulk of Alltel Wireless
assets being divested by Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N),
sources familiar with the situation said Friday.
 AT&T is expected to buy 18 of 24 assets being divested, the
sources said. The remaining six assets remain up for bid, with
interested parties including private equity firms Kohlberg
Kravis Roberts & Co KKR.UL, and other wireless carriers, such
as US Cellular (USM.N), one source said.
 Verizon closed its acquisition of rural wireless provider
Alltel Corp in early January. The merger created the biggest
U.S. wireless provider, surpassing AT&T in terms of
subscribers.
 As part of gaining regulatory approval for the Alltel
acquisition, Verizon Wireless was required to divest airwaves
in 105 markets. Verizon Wireless is owned by Verizon and
Britain's Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L) VOD.N.
 Verizon declined to comment. Verizon previously had said
more than 30 companies had expressed interest in the Alltel
assets.
 AT&T, KKR and US Cellular could not be immediately reached
for comment.
 (Reporting by Jessica Hall, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and
Matthew Lewis)
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