BEDMINSTER, NJ — Verizon Wireless today announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Price Communications Wireless, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Price Communications [NYSE: PR] operating a wireless business covering 3.4 million POPS (Population Served) in 16 markets throughout Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Florida, for $2.06 billion.
Under terms of the deal, Verizon Wireless will assume or redeem $550 million of Price Communications Wireless net debt and pay $1.5 billion in Verizon Wireless stock, valued at the offering price for the upcoming Verizon Wireless initial public offering (IPO). On Oct. 17 Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc (NYSE and LSE: VOD), owners of Verizon Wireless, announced that Verizon Wireless will defer a planned IPO of common stock due to the recent volatility of capital markets. This agreement -- conditioned on the completion of the IPO -- may be terminated by either party if the offering does not occur by Sept. 30, 2001.
The deal will significantly enhance the footprint and customer base of Verizon Wireless operations in its Southeast Area, expanding its Atlanta business south to Jacksonville, Fla., east to Augusta, Ga. and further southeast to the Atlantic coastline, including Savannah, Ga. The company will also gain more than 500,000 customers.
Verizon Wireless will acquire all Price Communications Wireless assets, including 41 company-owned retail stores, a regional call center in Atlanta and network infrastructure.
The Price Communications network uses Time Division Multiple Access [TDMA] digital wireless technology, which Verizon Wireless will convert to Code Division Multiple Access [CDMA] as quickly as possible after the closing. The Verizon Wireless national network covering 96 out of the top 100 markets uses the CDMA platform.
Currently Price Communications operates under the Cellular One brand in the Southeast. After the closing, the business will adopt the Verizon Wireless brand. The Verizon Wireless Southeast Area operation is headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga.
Completion of the acquisition is subject to various regulatory approvals and consent of Price shareholders.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with 26.3 million wireless voice and data customers and 3.5 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp - now Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) -- and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. The company has a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Verizon Wireless, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 32,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com/mediacenter/index.shtml