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Telephone company looks at big merger

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POSTED: January 12, 2011 10:31 a.m.
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CenturyLink, a communications company with local offices in Hinesville, recently announced it will merge with Qwest, considered by some to be a leader in the networks services market because of its national fiber-optic network.
CenturyLink provides Internet, video and telephone services and is included on a Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations. The company is headquartered in Monroe, La.
The merger was valued at $22.4 billion, a tax-free stock-for-stock purchase, said Randy Krause, public relations manager for CenturyLink in Georgia and South Carolina
“We believe the combination of CenturyLink’s and Qwest’s employees, assets and service areas will provide us greater scale, scope and expertise and will provide significant benefits for shareholders, customers and our communities,” CenturyLink Chief Executive Officer and President Glen F. Post III said in a news release. “This combination will enhance our ability to deploy innovative IP products and high-bandwidth services to business customers, expand availability and speed to consumers, and offer superior, differentiated video products.”
“This transaction is compelling for our shareholders, who will benefit from an immediate premium for their shares, an increase of approximately 50 percent in the annual dividend, and the opportunity to participate in the upside potential of the combined company through their ownership of CenturyLink stock,” Qwest Chairman and Chief Executive Edward A. Mueller said.
The merger is expected to be complete in early April, Krause said.
“We were in 33 states and we’ll now be in 37 states,” he said.
The merger, he added, will help make CenturyLink “more competitive.”
CenturyLink and Qwest together will have 50,000 employees, 5 million broadband customers, 1.5 million video customers and 17.5 million access lines, Krause said.
“They (Qwest) have some (desirable) technologies and it made good business sense to team up,” he said. The coveted technology Qwest will soon share with CenturyLink is its fiber optic network, he said.
“It (the merger) should be transparent to our CenturyLink customers here in Georgia,” said Durand Standard, CenturyLink general manager and vice president of operations for Georgia and South Carolina. “What we’ll do is broaden our scope and our footprint nationally, giving us greater resources to draw from locally. Ultimately, we will go on net with their fiber facilities and derive some savings; we will draw from their expertise and technology.”
Krause said CenturyLink’s markets “overlaid” Qwest’s markets in several other states. In regard to potential layoffs, he said “we don’t know at this point.” He said there is always a chance of layoffs with corporate acquisitions, but added company officials are optimistic layoffs will not occur.

 

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