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Verizon Wireless Files $5 Billion IPO

Verizon Wireless filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday to raise $5 billion in an initial public offering.

The IPO, which had been expected, is the largest since AT&T Wireless raised $11.5 billion in April in the largest U.S. debut of all time, according to industry reports. The new company will be competition for AT&T Wireless , Sprint Corp. , Nextel Communications Inc. and VoiceStream Communications .

Prior to the offering, Verizon Wireless is 55-percent-owned by Verizon Communications through its hold on the Class B shares and 45-percent-owned by Vodafone, which controls the Class C stock.

Verizon Wireless is offering Class A Common Shares. Lead underwriters of the deal are Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch & Co.

The number of shares, their price range and a stock exchange have not yet been released.

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless provider in the U.S., boasting more than 25 million wireless phone customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The company is comprised of the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, PrimeCo Personal Communications, AirTouch Paging and GTE Corp.

According to the filing, Verizon Wireless plans to use the net proceeds for general corporate purposes, including capital expenditures to build its network, acquisition of additional spectrum and wireless licenses and other wireless assets.

Verizon Wireless Inc. will be a holding company whose sole asset will be partnership interests in the Verizon Wireless partnership and whose sole business will be to act as the managing general partner of the partnership.

The Verizon Wireless partnership includes the United States wireless communications operations of Verizon Communications. The shares will be issued and sold by Verizon Wireless Inc., which will invest the proceeds in the Verizon Wireless partnership.

The stock registration comes the morning after Verizon Communications ended a highly publicized, 18-day strike, which initially included 87,000 workers.

In its recently released second quarter revenue reports, Verizon Communication's profits rose to $4.91 billion, or $1.79 a share, compared with $1.94 billion, or 70 cents a share, a year ago. Second-quarter revenues rose 15.7 percent to $16.79 billion, with revenues increasing almost 32 percent.

Verizon also said it expected revenues to grow about 8 to 10 percent a year and its 2000 earnings to be $2.90-$2.94 a share.

Shares of Verizon rose 7/8 to 41 3/8 in mid-day trading on Thursday. Vodafone's U.S.-listed shares dipped 11/16 to 37 5/8.