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AT&T to Acquire Centennial for $944 Million

By Jason Ankeny

AT&T announced it will acquire regional provider Centennial Communications for $944 million in cash. Centennial brings with it 1.1 million subscribers, the majority of them in rural areas--according to AT&T, the transaction will enhance its wireless coverage for customers in the central and southeastern U.S. as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The operator notes the addition of Centennial's 850 MHz spectrum will improve service quality for subscribers in parts of Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas.

Per terms of the merger agreement, Centennial stockholders will receive $8.50 per share for a total equity price of $944 million. Including net debt, the total enterprise value is approximately $2.8 billion. AT&T says the acquisition presents opportunities for synergies in areas including corporate overhead, advertising, customer care and network operations.

The operator expects to obtain regulatory approval by the end of the second quarter of 2009. Post-Centennial merger, AT&T will boast about 76 million subscribers, still not enough to return the operator to the number one spot usurped by Verizon Wireless in the wake of its Alltel Wireless acquisition. [FierceMobileContent]

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