Verizon Communications Inc. announced on Monday an agreement to buy the fiber-optic network business of XO Communications for about $1.8 billion. Verizon expects the deal, which is seen closing in the first half of 2017, to have synergies of more than $1.5 billion. Verizon said it expects to lease available XO wireless spectrum by the end of 2018. "Although this sale to Verizon does not represent a significant annualized return on our investment, we believe that in today's environment it does represent the best achievable outcome for the company's customers, employees and owner," said billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who is chairman and the sole shareholder of XO. Verizon's stock, which gained 0.4% in premarket trade, has run up 10% year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 5.9%.
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