The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Friday approved the pending merger between CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL - News) and Qwest Communications (NYSE:Q - News).
During the review process by the FCC, the companies made several voluntary commitments that will significantly advance the commission's goals of promoting infrastructure investment and expanding broadband availability, while protecting consumers and fostering competition. CenturyLink committed to increase broadband service availability, encourage the adoption of broadband service in the combined service territory, preserve certain competitive rates, and transition wholesale operations systems in a timely and orderly manner.
"We are pleased to receive the Commission's approval and appreciate their hard work during the review of our proposed transaction," said Glen F. Post, III, chief executive officer and president of CenturyLink. "The merger of CenturyLink and Qwest will bring greater broadband availability to customers and serves the public interest by allowing us to offer a wider variety of services than either company could offer alone."
"The FCC's approval solidifies our plan to complete the transaction on April 1," said Edward A. Mueller, chairman and chief executive officer of Qwest. "The combination of CenturyLink and Qwest will create a new force in the telecommunications industry that will provide its customers with innovative solutions to meet the challenges of tomorrow."
The companies expect to close the merger and combine operations on April 1, 2011, subject to receipt of the remaining necessary regulatory approval. As previously announced, the combined company will use the name CenturyLink and its stock will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under CenturyLink's current symbol, CTL. Qwest shares outstanding at the end of the business day immediately prior to the close date will convert to CenturyLink shares on the close date at an exchange rate of 0.1664 share of CenturyLink for each share of Qwest.
* The merger has been approved by 20 states and the District of Columbia.
* CenturyLink and Qwest already have reached agreements with Integra Telecom, Cox Communications and other competitive local exchange carriers, and the U.S. Department of Defense in Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Washington.
* In October, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) agreed that the merger is in the public interest.
* Shareholders from both companies approved the merger in August.
* The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission cleared the transaction in July after determining there were no antitrust concerns.
* As of Dec. 31, 2010, CenturyLink served approximately 2.4 million broadband customers, 6.5 million access lines and almost 628,000 satellite video subscribers. On the same date, Qwest served 2.9 million broadband customers, 8.9 million access lines, more than 1 million video subscribers and more than 1 million wireless customers. The combination will create a robust 180,000-route-mile national fiber network, which will increase the combined company's scale and enable the delivery of a diverse mix of service and product offerings.