updated 10/6/2006 12:42:41 PM ET 2006-10-06T16:42:41

Cell-phone tower company Crown Castle International Corp. agreed to buy smaller rival Global Signal Inc. for $4 billion in cash and stock, the companies said Friday, creating a behemoth with more than 24,000 wireless sites.

Including the assumption of $1.8 billion in debt, the deal is valued at $5.8 billion.

Global Signal shareholders will have the choice to receive 1.61 Crown Castle shares or $55.95 in cash for each share they hold. The total amount of cash consideration is subject to a $550 million cap.

Global Signal's three largest shareholders, holding about 40 percent of its shares, have agreed to vote in favor of the deal.

Crown Castle will finance the purchase with its senior secured credit facility. At closing, seen in the first quarter of 2007, Crown Castle expects to have total debt of approximately $5.4 billion and net debt of approximately $5.3 billion.

The agreement is subject to certain conditions and approvals, including shareholder and regulatory approvals.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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