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BLACKSTONE’S COMMNET CELLULAR BUY SENDS SHARES SOARING

New York take-over company Blackstone Group Inc has agreed to purchase for about $520m, CommNet Cellular Inc, a rural cellular- phone supplier in the western US. It will also take over its debts. News of the acquisition sent CommNet shares soaring to $34.375, up 16% in Nasdaq Stock Market trading on Wednesday. CommNet shareholders will be paid $36 a share for most of them, for tax and accounting purposes Blackstone will leave 4% of the company’s common shares outstanding as well as leaving a butt of stock outstanding to trade publicly. Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive of Blackstone, said the acquisition should lend Blackstone’s financial resources to enable CommNet to realize its full potential. This is the second cellular deal in a fortnight following last week’s announcement by Price Communications Inc that it is to acquire Palmer Wireless Inc for $506m.

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