Management’s Discussion and Analysis
of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
OTHER FACTORS THAT MAY AFFECT FUTURE RESULTS (1 OF 2)
On June 5, 2008, Verizon Wireless entered into an agreement and plan of merger with Alltel and its controlling stockholder, Atlantis Holdings LLC, an affiliate of private investment firms TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners, to acquire 100% of the equity of Alltel in an all-cash merger. After satisfying all closing conditions, including receiving the required regulatory approvals, Verizon Wireless closed the acquisition on January 9, 2009 and paid approximately $5.9 billion for the equity of Alltel. Immediately prior to the closing, the Alltel debt associated with the transaction, net of cash, was approximately $22.2 billion. Alltel provides wireless voice and advanced data services to residential and business customers in 34 states.
In connection with this transaction, on June 10, 2008, Verizon Wireless purchased from third parties approximately $5.0 billion aggregate principal amount of debt obligations of certain subsidiaries of Alltel for approximately $4.8 billion plus accrued and unpaid interest. These debt obligations are included in the amount of Alltel net debt, referenced above, immediately prior to the closing referenced above.
Rural Cellular Corporation
On August 7, 2008, Verizon Wireless acquired 100% of the outstanding common stock and redeemed all of the preferred stock of Rural Cellular in a cash transaction. Rural Cellular was a wireless communications service provider operating under the trade name of “Unicel,” focusing primarily on rural markets in the United States. Verizon Wireless believes that the acquisition will further enhance its network coverage in markets adjacent to its existing service areas and will enable Verizon Wireless to achieve operational benefits through realizing synergies in reduced roaming and other operating expenses. Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, Verizon Wireless paid Rural Cellular’s common shareholders $728 million in cash ($45 per share). Additionally, all classes of Rural Cellular’s preferred shareholders received cash in the aggregate amount of $571 million.
As part of its approval process for the Rural Cellular acquisition, the FCC and Department of Justice (DOJ) required the divestiture of six operating markets, including all of Rural Cellular’s operations in Vermont and New York as well as its operations in Okanogan and Ferry, WA (the Divestiture Markets). On December 22, 2008, Verizon Wireless completed an exchange transaction with AT&T. Pursuant to the terms of the exchange agreement, as amended, AT&T received the assets relating to the Divestiture Markets and a cellular license for part of the Madison, KY market. In exchange, Verizon Wireless received cellular operating markets in Madison and Mason, KY and 10 MHz PCS licenses in Las Vegas, NV, Buffalo, NY, Erie, PA, Sunbury-Shamokin, PA and Youngstown, OH. Verizon Wireless also received AT&T’s minority interests in three entities in which Verizon Wireless holds interests plus a cash payment. The preliminary aggregate value of properties exchanged was approximately $500 million. In addition, subject to FCC approval, Verizon Wireless will acquire PCS licenses in Franklin, NY (except Franklin county) and the entire state of Vermont from AT&T in a separate cash transaction that is expected to close in the first half of 2009.
Telephone Access Lines Spin-off
On January 16, 2007, we announced a definitive agreement with FairPoint Communications, Inc. (FairPoint) providing for Verizon to establish a separate entity for its local exchange and related business assets in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, spin-off that new entity into a newly formed company, known as Northern New England Spinco Inc. (Spinco), to Verizon’s shareowners, and immediately merge it with and into FairPoint. On March 31, 2008, we completed the spin-off of the shares of Spinco to Verizon shareowners and the merger of Spinco with FairPoint, resulting in Verizon shareowners collectively owning approximately 60 percent of FairPoint common stock. FairPoint issued approximately 53.8 million shares of FairPoint common stock to Verizon shareowners in the merger, and Verizon shareowners received one share of FairPoint common stock for every 53.0245 shares of Verizon common stock they owned as of March 7, 2008. FairPoint paid cash in lieu of any fraction of a share of FairPoint common stock. As a result of the spin-off, our net debt was reduced by approximately $1.4 billion. Both the spin-off and merger qualify as tax-free transactions, except for the cash payments for fractional shares which are generally taxable.
During 2003, under a government-approved plan, remediation commenced at the site of a former Sylvania facility in Hicksville, New York that processed nuclear fuel rods in the 1950s and 1960s. Remediation beyond original expectations proved to be necessary and a reassessment of the anticipated remediation costs was conducted. A reassessment of costs related to remediation efforts at several other former facilities was also undertaken. In September 2005, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) accepted the Hicksville site into the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program. This may result in the ACE performing some or all of the remediation effort for the Hicksville site with a corresponding decrease in costs to Verizon. To the extent that the ACE assumes responsibility for remedial work at the Hicksville site, an adjustment to a reserve previously established for the remediation may be made. Adjustments to the reserve may also be necessary based upon actual conditions discovered during the remediation at any of the sites requiring remediation.
New York Recovery Funding
In August 2002, President Bush signed the Supplemental Appropriations bill that included $5.5 billion in New York recovery funding. Of that amount, approximately $750 million was allocated to cover utility restoration and infrastructure rebuilding as a result of the September 11th terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan. These funds will be distributed through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) following an application and audit process. As of September 2004, we had applied for reimbursement of approximately $266 million under Category One and in 2004 and 2005 we applied for reimbursement of an additional $139 million of Category Two losses. Category One funding relates to Emergency and Temporary Service Response while Category Two funding is for permanent restoration and infrastructure improvement. According to the plan, permanent restoration is reimbursed up to 75% of the loss. On November 3, 2005, we received the results of preliminary audit findings disallowing all but $49.9 million of our $266 million of Category One application. On December 8, 2005, we provided a detailed rebuttal to the preliminary audit findings. We received a copy of the final audit report for Verizon’s Category One applications largely confirming the preliminary audit findings and, on January 4, 2007, we filed an appeal. That appeal is pending. On November 9, 2007, Verizon submitted an additional Category Two application for approximately $16 million. ESDC has approved approximately $17 million in advances to Verizon on its Category Two applications. Based on the progress of these audits, Verizon recorded a portion of these advances to income in June 2008. The Category Two audits remain pending.