received a "BB" rating Monday from Duff & Phelps Rating Co.

Duff & Phelps noted Nextel's "excellent operating performance, its vastly improved liquidity position, and the company's recent announcement to raise a substantial amount of equity capital to support its rapid growth."

At syndication the loan, led by Bank of Nova Scotia, Barclays Bank PLC, Chase Manhattan Corp., and Toronto-Dominion Bank, was priced at the London interbank offered rate plus 250 basis points for banks and Libor plus 337.5 and 362.5 basis points for institutional buyers.

Nextel, based in Reston, Va., is a telecommunications company. It originally sought $4 billion from banks, but the deal was increased because of investor demand.

Such demand marked a contrast from Nextel's previous trip to the loan market in the spring of 1998 when 11 banks declined to participate in the original deal and were temporarily blacklisted from buying the debt in the secondary market.

-- David Weidner

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