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Verizon Exercises Option to Increase Ownership in Telecomunicaciones de Puerto Rico

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NEW YORK -- Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and Popular Inc. closed on Jan. 25 their option to purchase an additional 15 percent of the common stock of Telecomunicaciones de Puerto Rico, Inc. (TELPRI), from PRTA Holdings Corp., an entity of the government of Puerto Rico. TELPRI is the holding company of Puerto Rico Telephone Company and Verizon Wireless de Puerto Rico, Inc.

Verizon acquired an additional 12 percent equity interest in TELPRI, and Popular acquired an additional 3 percent. The total purchase price was US$172 million.

When TELPRI was privatized in March 1999, Verizon and Popular were granted the option to acquire an additional 15 percent of TELPRI stock at any time during the three years following the close of the sale.

Verizon now holds 52 percent of TELPRI stock, up from 40 percent. As a result Verizon will now begin consolidating TELPRI's financial results into Verizon's financial results. Popular now holds 13 percent, up from 10 percent; PRTA Holdings Corp. now holds 28 percent, down from 43 percent. The TELPRI Employees' Stock Option Plan retains its 7 percent participation.

Fares F. Salloum, president-international, the Americas for Verizon, and chairman of the board of directors of TELPRI, said, "Verizon's exercise of its option to acquire additional equity reaffirms our strong commitment to TELPRI and Puerto Rico, a strategic market with close ties to our domestic customer base."

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