Can you hear me now? Verizon Wireless seeking Alltel

OK, no landlines here, pal, but this is one big telecom story anyway: Verizon Wireless has begun takeover talks with Alltel, a power in the Midwest and South of the U.S., the Wall Street Journal is reporting. Seems like it was only a year or so ago (actually February 2007) that bloggers started talking about VW making eyes at Alltel. Obviously that never came to fruition, but  these rumors have a little more bang for the buck--about $27 billion of them.

The potential deal is valued at just that, $27 billion, a and would create a cellphone entity with about 80 million subscribers, 9 million more than current market share leader AT&T, making it the largest mobile service provider in the U.S.

Sources told the Journal the deal could fall through at any stage, it’s that sensitive, and involves private equity firms, Goldman Sachs' buyout arm and TPG Capital. Also in the deal, the same banks that LBO’d Alltel last year for $27.5 billion (boy does this have the looks of an LBO gone bad), Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland. There’s still some $24 billion floating out there and the banks could see this as a way to recoup some potential loses.

For more: 
- See the Wall Street Journal story