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The wireless mating dance continues apace with



snapping up

Western Wireless


Monday morning for cash and stock worth about $4.5 billion.

Arkansas-based Alltel will issue about 60 million shares plus $1 billion cash for Western, which is based in Bellevue, Wash., and has about 1.4 million subscribers in 19 states. Alltel will have about 10 million domestic subscribers, $10 billion in annual revenue and about $4 billion of EBITDA after the acquisition.

The per-share consideration of 0.535 Alltel shares plus $9.25 cash came out to about $39.27 based on Friday's closing price. Western Wireless closed at $35.70 on Thursday, the day before news of the merger talks hit. The stock was up $1.31, or 3.6%, to $37.83 in Monday's premarket session.

Alltel, which will also assume about $1.5 billion of debt in the transaction, will be the fifth largest U.S. wireless carrier.