Verizon (VZ) is getting rid of a chunk of its shrinking home/commercial phone business to focus on bigger cities and its wireless business. The no. 2 telco will dump about 15% of its residential and small business access lines — 4.8 million — on Frontier (FTR), tripling that company’s size. Frontier will pay $5.3 billion in stock and take on $3.3 billion in debt.
The sale includes all of Verizon’s wireline business in Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin, plus some assets in California.
What’s the point? Verizon’s landline business is shrinking already — access lines dropped 10% year-over-year to 35.2 million in Q1. So the telco may as well focus on growth areas, such as its FiOS TV/broadband platform and Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. wireless carrier, which it co-owns with Vodafone (VOD).