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Verizon Wireless Hopes for 2002 IPO

Bloomberg News

Verizon Wireless Inc., the biggest U.S. mobile-phone company, said Friday it hopes to revive by the middle of 2002 the $5-billion initial public offering it postponed a year ago.

Verizon will use part of the money to pay for wireless licenses obtained in a proposed $16-billion settlement with bankrupt NextWave Telecom Inc. (ticker symbol: NXLC) and the U.S. government. Verizon’s share is $8.8billion, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company is proceeding with the sale after the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday boosted by 22% the amount of airwaves U.S. wireless companies may control. The ruling could lead companies such as AT&T; Wireless Services Inc. (AWE) and Verizon Wireless to buy smaller rivals such as Nextel Communications Inc. (NXTL), analysts said.

Verizon Wireless delayed the share sale in October 2000, citing a slowing economy and decline in the shares of rivals. The company said it will sell the stock in part because demand for mobile-phone service continues to grow.

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Verizon Wireless, based in Bedminster, N.J., will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the proposed symbol VZW, the filing said.

Verizon Wireless is a partnership of Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group (VOD), Europe’s largest mobile-phone company. Verizon owns 55% of the wireless unit and manages the business.

Goldman, Sachs & Co. (GS) and Merrill Lynch & Co. (MER) are managing the offering.

Verizon’s stock rose 24 cents to $50.18 on Friday. Vodafone’s American depositary receipts slipped 2 cents to $25.88.

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