Verizon Reports Increase in Earnings, Asks for More Time to Sell Alltel Assets

Verizon Communications reported on Monday first-quarter earnings of $3.2 billion, or 58 cents per share, up 5.3 percent from the same quarter last year.

Revenue for the quarter that ended March 31, including revenue from Alltel operations, clocked in at $26.6 billion, up nearly 11.6 percent from the first quarter in 2008.

Verizon recorded about $3.48 billion in earnings before special items. However, with $94 million in merger-integration costs and $185 million in acquisition-related charges, Verizon cleared about $3.21 million in net income. Excluding the special items, Verizon would have earned 63 cents per share.

Verizon barely missed the analysts' average income estimate of 59 cents per share. The company, however, beat the average revenue projection of $26.33 billion.

Verizon Wireless now has a commanding lead as the largest wireless company in the country with about 86.6 million subscribers, up 28.8 percent from last year.

Divestiture Delay
Verizon has asked the Federal Communications Commission for a 60-day extension to unload the Alltel assets that it is required to divest as part of the terms of the $28.1 billion Alltel acquisition.

Verizon claims that it needs until July 8 to complete the auction of the 105 cellular market areas because some of the top bidders requested "additional due diligence and data," according to the letter drafted by Verizon's legal representative Wiley Rein LLP.

Verizon says that despite its best efforts, it won't be able to fulfill the requests of the bidders and complete the auction by the original deadline of May 9.

Click here to read the letter.