Jan 22 AT&T will acquire the U.S. retail
wireless operations of Atlantic Tele-Network for $780
million in cash, the telephone company said Tuesday, in a move
that will boost AT&T's service in rural areas.
The network AT&T is buying from Atlantic Tele-Network is
known under the brand "Alltel" in the U.S. and covers about 4.6
million people in mostly rural areas in the states of Georgia,
Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina and Ohio.
AT&T said the deal is expected to close in the second half of
the year and is subject to review by the U.S. Federal
Communications Commission and the Justice Department. The deal
will not result in "significant" dilution to AT&T's earnings per
share or impact its cash flow, according to a statement by AT&T.
The spectrum AT&T is buying is complementary to its current
network, the company said.
The telephone company said on Jan. 17 that it will take a
fourth-quarter charge of about $10 billion due to bigger than
expected pension obligations. It also expects to take a $175
million reduction in operating income because of storms
including Superstorm Sandy, which damaged some of its
infrastructure. Its wireless profit will also be reduced by
higher than expected sales of smartphones such as the Apple Inc
iPhone in the quarter.
Shares of Atlantic Tele-Network were halted before the
market opened. AT&T shares fell to a low of $33.18, 1 percent
below Friday's close but have since recovered to $33.44 to trade
about flat in premarket trading.