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Nextel Bounces Around On Acquisition Rumors

18 Jan 2002

Buzz in the market last week that Verizon may be interested in acquiring Nextel Communications pushed Nextel's bank debt up to 87 after bids had dropped earlier in the week on a Lehman Brothers report that slapped a sell rating on the company's stock. The $5 billion credit, which started the week at 91, had bids as low as 85 on Tuesday after Lehman issued its research report. But confidence grew again by Thursday as traders started buying into the rumblings that Verizon was interested in the company.

Brian Wood, a spokesman for Verizon, declined to comment on the rumor. "For the most part we are not really talking about our options long-term, and we are focusing solely on getting our money back from the NextWave auction process," explained Wood. When the Federal Communications Commission foreclosed on NextWave's spectrum block and put it up to auction. Verizon placed a $1.7 billion bid on the license. With NextWave contesting the move to the Supreme Court, Verizon's first priority is getting its deposit refunded. Wood did not dismiss the possibility of a deal in the future. "We are certainly willing to listen to business propositions that come our way in terms of acquisitions and deals," he added. Calls to Nextel were not returned by press time.

18 Jan 2002