MONROE, La., DENVER and PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE:CTL – News) and Qwest Communications (NYSE:Q – News) have reached an agreement on wholesale conditions with Integra Telecom that resolves concerns Integra raised about the companies’ pending merger in some states where Qwest operates. As a result of the agreement, Integra says the CenturyLink-Qwest merger is in the public interest, and it will no longer oppose the transaction in state and federal proceedings.
“Since the CenturyLink and Qwest merger announcement, we have met with Integra as well as other competitive local exchange companies (CLECs) to address their concerns,” said Bill Cheek, president of CenturyLink Wholesale Operations. “We are pleased to have addressed Integra’s concerns and reached this agreement. As a significant interconnecting network customer of Qwest, it is important that both Integra and CenturyLink forge an effective working relationship that will carry forward post-merger closing. This agreement accomplishes that goal. CenturyLink has a proven track record of successfully integrating companies and providing high-quality, value-added services to customers. We have well-established integration processes that ensure all systems, employee skill sets and operational issues are executed seamlessly and efficiently for all customer segments—including CLECs.”
“After extensive negotiations over the last month, we are pleased to have arrived at an agreement that resolves all of our issues with the merger,” said Dudley Slater, chief executive officer of Integra Telecom. “This addresses the concerns we had regarding the potential risks the merger posed and from our perspective, the merger is in the public interest and should be approved.”
In addition to Integra, agreements have been reached with other competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs), as well as the consumer counsel in Iowa and the Department of Commerce in Minnesota. In Utah, settlement agreements have been reached with the public service commission staff, the consumer advocate and the Salt Lake Community Action Program.
Also, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) have agreed that the merger is in the public interest and have withdrawn their previous opposition to the merger.
CenturyLink and Qwest have received more than half of the regulatory approvals needed to complete the transaction. On Nov. 3, the Iowa Utilities Board took action resulting in approval of the merger, bringing the total number of approvals to 12 states and the District of Columbia. The companies also must receive approvals from nine additional states and the Federal Communications Commission. The transaction is expected to be completed during the first half of 2011.
For more information about the merger, visit centurylinkqwestmerger.com.
CenturyLink is a leading provider of high-quality broadband, entertainment and voice services over its advanced communications networks to consumers and businesses in 33 states. CenturyLink, headquartered in Monroe, La., is an S&P 500 company and is included among the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations. For more information on CenturyLink, visit www.centurylink.com.
Customers coast to coast turn to Qwest’s industry-leading national fiber-optic network and world-class customer service to meet their communications and entertainment needs. For residential customers, Qwest offers a new generation of fiber-optic-fast Internet service, high-speed internet solutions, as well as home phone, Verizon Wireless, and DIRECTV® services. Fortune 500 companies and other large businesses and wholesale customers, as well as small businesses and governmental agencies, choose Qwest to deliver a full suite of network, data and voice services. Additionally, Qwest participates in Networx, the largest communications services contract in the world and is recognized as a leader in the network services market by leading technology industry analyst firms.
About Integra Telecom
Integra Telecom Inc. provides voice and Internet solutions to thousands of business and carrier customers in 11 Western states, including: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah and Washington. It owns and operates a best-in-class fiber-optic network comprised of metropolitan access networks, nationally acclaimed Internet and data networks, and a 4,700-mile high-speed long haul network. The company has earned some of the highest customer loyalty and customer satisfaction ratings in the telecommunications industry. Primary equity investors in the company include Goldman, Sachs & Co., Tennenbaum Capital Partners, funds managed by Farallon Capital Partners and Warburg Pincus. Integra Telecom and Electric Lightwave are registered trademarks of Integra Telecom Inc. For more information, visit: www.integratelecom.com.
Forward Looking Statements
Certain non-historical statements made in this release and future oral or written statements or press releases by us or our management are intended to be forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations only, and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, many of which are beyond our control. Actual events and results may differ materially from those anticipated, estimated or projected if one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if underlying assumptions prove incorrect. Factors that could affect actual results include but are not limited to: the timing, success and overall effects of competition from a wide variety of competitive providers; the risks inherent in rapid technological change; the effects of ongoing changes in the regulation of the communications industry (including those arising out of the Federal Communication Commission’s National Broadband Plan released in the first quarter of 2010); our ability to effectively adjust to changes in the communications industry; changes in our allocation of the Embarq purchase price after the date hereof; our ability to successfully integrate Embarq into our operations, including the possibility that the anticipated benefits from the Embarq merger cannot be fully realized in a timely manner or at all, or that integrating Embarq’s operations into ours will be more difficult, disruptive or costly than anticipated; our ability to successfully complete our pending acquisition of Qwest, including timely receiving all shareholder and regulatory approvals and realizing the anticipated benefits of the transaction; our ability to effectively manage our expansion opportunities, including retaining and hiring key personnel; possible changes in the demand for, or pricing of, our products and services; our ability to successfully introduce new product or service offerings on a timely and cost-effective basis; our continued access to credit markets on favorable terms; our ability to collect our receivables from financially troubled communications companies; our ability to pay a $2.90 per common share dividend annually, which may be affected by changes in our cash requirements, capital spending plans, cash flows or financial position; unanticipated increases in our capital expenditures; our ability to successfully negotiate collective bargaining agreements on reasonable terms without work stoppages; the effects of adverse weather; other risks referenced from time to time in this report or other of our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”); and the effects of more general factors such as changes in interest rates, in tax rates, in accounting policies or practices, in operating, medical, pension or administrative costs, in general market, labor or economic conditions, or in legislation, regulation or public policy. These and other uncertainties related to our business and our July 2009 acquisition of Embarq are described in greater detail in Item 1A to our Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009, as updated and supplemented by our subsequent SEC reports. You should be aware that new factors may emerge from time to time and it is not possible for us to identify all such factors nor can we predict the impact of each such factor on the business or the extent to which any one or more factors may cause actual results to differ from those reflected in any forward-looking statements. You are further cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release. We undertake no obligation to update any of our forward-looking statements for any reason.
SOURCE CenturyLink Inc.