Talk America is being acquired by privately-held Cavalier Telephone & TV for $251 million.

Ed Meyercord, chief executive officer of Talk America, will become CEO of Richmond, Virginia-based Cavalier. Brad Evans, current CEO of Cavalier, will become Cavalier's executive chairman. Talk America is based in Reston, Virginia.

The combined company will serve more than 550,000 residential customers and 85,000 business customers and will have more than 2,000 staffers. It would have annual revenue of more than $750 million and a presence in six of the country's 20 largest markets -- Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit and Atlanta.

Cavalier is a privately held company whose equity holders include MC Venture Partners, Banc of America Capital Investors and BB&T; Capital Partners. It is one of the few "new entrants" in the local and long-distance business to survive the tough shake-out that followed Congressional passage of the Bell-friendly 1996 Telecommunications Act.

Founded in 1989, Talk America began as a provider of long distance phone service to residential and small business customers. In 2000, the company began offering a bundle of local and long distance phone services to residential and small business customers.