1930William Clarke and Marie Williams purchased the Oak Ridge Telephone Company for $500 from F.E. Hogan, Sr. There were 75 paid subscribers. The switchboard was relocated to the Williams’ front parlor so the family could man the board 24-hours a day. The exception was between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sundays, when the office closed for church and dinner. Marie wrote out the bills by hand, and eight-year-old son Clarke McRae Williams delivered them on his bicycle.
1946Clarke McRae Williams married Mary Kathryn Lee on his return from service in World War II. His parents gave the company to the couple as a wedding gift.
1968The company was incorporated as Central Telephone and Electronics, with Clarke M. Williams as President and Chairman of the Board. He had expanded the business into three states serving 10,000 access lines.
1971The company was renamed Century Telephone Enterprises, Inc.
1972Century bought the La Crosse (Wisconsin) Telephone Corporation, making a name for itself overnight within the industry.
1978Shares of Century common stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange for the first time October 24, under the symbol CTL.
Century began to replace electromechanical switches with digital computer technology.
1983The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized cellular mobile telephone service. Century obtained FCC approval to operate cellular systems in three areas in Michigan.
Clarke M. Williams, Jr., was named President of Century.
1989Century paid $90 million in cash for the outstanding capital stock of Universal Telephone, Inc.
Clarke M. Williams, Jr., was named Chief Executive Officer of Century.
1990Clarke M. Williams, Jr., resigned from Century after suffering a stroke. (He died in 1994, following a lengthy illness.)
1992Century paid $135 million for Central Telephone Company of Ohio, a Centel subsidiary serving more than 65,000 access lines. This acquisition increased Century's access line total by 20 percent.
Glen F. Post, III, was named Vice Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Century.
1996The company surpassed the half million-customer mark in its local exchange operations, and the 100,000-customer mark in its long distance operations.
1997Century acquired Delta Security Alarm Co., Inc., of Monroe, Louisiana, providing full-service security systems to a customer base of nearly 4,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in north central Louisiana, southern Arkansas and northwestern Mississippi.
Century completed its largest acquisition to date with the $2.2 billion purchase of Pacific Telecom, Inc. (PTI), gaining about 660,000 telephone access lines in 12 states and doubling its size.
1998Century announced a three-for-two stock split affected as a 50 percent dividend.
The company acquired Louisiana-based Century Protection Systems, providing full-service security systems to residential, commercial and industrial customers in northeastern Louisiana.
Century added about 89,000 access lines with the $221 million purchase of Ameritech's telephone and directory publishing operations in 19 exchanges in 21 northern and central Wisconsin communities.
1999Century announced a three-for-two stock split affected as a 50 percent dividend.
The company was admitted to the Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500 Index.
Shareholders voted to change the company's name to CenturyTel, Inc.
2000Arkansas became CenturyTel's second largest state in terms of access lines served with the purchase of 230,500 GTE lines in that state. CenturyTel also bought 127,000 GTE lines in Missouri.
CenturyTel became the second largest provider in Wisconsin with the purchase of about 133,000 additional lines in 77 exchanges. In two separate transactions with Verizon, CenturyTel spent about $195 million for an outright purchase of 70,000 access lines in 42 exchanges. The company also partnered with Telephone USA of Wisconsin, LLC to buy 62,650 lines in 35 additional exchanges for about $170 million.
2001CenturyTel acquired CSW Net, Inc. of Russellville, Arkansas.
The company successfully defeated a hostile take-over attempt by ALLTEL, Inc.
2002Founder and Chairman of the Board Clarke M. Williams died following a lengthy illness. CenturyTel's Board of Directors elected Glen F. Post, III as his successor and new Chairman.
The company expanded operations to 22 states with the acquisition of about 300,000 Verizon access lines in Alabama.
CenturyTel sold its wireless business to ALLTEL, entering a new era as a leading U.S. pure-play rural local exchange carrier.
The company bought about 354,000 Verizon access lines in Missouri, bringing the total access lines served nationwide to nearly 2.5 million.
The November 25 issue of Business Week ranked CenturyTel 16th among the 100 top information technology companies and ahead of all other U.S.-based telecommunication companies. Rankings were based on revenues, sales growth, profitability and stock appreciation.
2003In June, CenturyTel purchased Digital Teleport, Incorporated's 5,700 route mile fiber network -- of which 3,200 miles were lit -- in portions of Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Tennessee. CenturyTel renamed the company LightCore.
CenturyTel purchased the Midwest Fiber Optic Network (MFON) from Level 3 Communications, Inc. in December. This system became the regional backbone for a number of carriers, including CenturyTel, in Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois.
2004In February, CenturyTel initiated a stock repurchase program allowing it to repurchase up to an aggregate of $400 million of either its common stock or convertible equity units.
In December, CenturyTel announced completion of its $400 million stock repurchase program, returning more than $430 million through share repurchases and cash dividends.
2005The company invested $438 million to repurchase 12.9 million shares of common stock under an Accelerated Share Repurchase program, which mitigated the dilutive effect of equity units settled in May, 2005.
In June, CenturyTel completed its acquisition of fiber networks in 16 markets -- primarily in the central United States -- from KMC Telecom Holdings, Inc. (KMC). With this purchase, CenturyTel added key markets to its footprint across Alabama (Huntsville and Montgomery), Indiana (Fort Wayne), Kansas (Topeka), Louisiana (Baton Rouge), Michigan (Lansing and Ann Arbor), Minnesota (Eden Prairie), Mississippi (Biloxi/Gulfport), Ohio (Akron, Dayton and Toledo), Tennessee (Chattanooga), Texas (Corpus Christi and Longview) and Wisconsin (Madison).
2006In July, CenturyTel completed the Accelerated Share Repurchase program announced in 2005.
In May, CenturyTel sold all of its assets in Arizona to Hopi Telecommunications, Inc. (HTI), exiting the state as a service provider. At the time of the sale, CenturyTel served three exchanges with approximately 2,000 customers.
2007CenturyTel expanded operations in Alabama and Illinois and into Georgia and North Carolina with the acquisition of approximately 165,000 access lines and a 2,400-mile-long fiber network from Madison River Communications.
2008In October, CenturyTel agreed to acquire Embarq Corporation for approximately $5.8 billion in stock based on the October 24, 2008, closing price of CenturyTel's common stock and the assumption of approximately $5.8 billion of debt. Embarq traces its roots back to 1899, when Cleyson Brown formed the Brown Telephone Company in Abilene, Kansas. By 1991, the company was known as Sprint. In December, 2004, Sprint announced a merger with wireless provider Nextel and its subsequent plan to spin off its Local Telecommunications Division (LTD) into an independent company. The spin-off, Embarq Corporation, was formed on May 17, 2006, with its first day of trading on the NYSE on May 18, 2006. Embarq served parts of 18 states, including Nevada (Las Vegas), Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.
CenturyTel announced a new dividend policy increasing its quarterly dividend from $.0675 to $.70 per share beginning in the third quarter 2008.
2009On July 1, CenturyTel completed its acquisition of Embarq Corporation in a tax free, stock-for-stock transaction, creating one of the leading communications companies in the United States. Simultaneously, the company began operating under the name CenturyLink, with Admiral William A. Owens as Chairman of the Board and Glen F. Post III as Chief Executive Officer and President.
The benefits of consolidating these two successful companies included the creation of an industry-leading communications provider; an expanded suite of products and solutions for our communities; enhanced employee opportunities over time from a larger company; greater financial strength and stability; and the uniting of an experienced, capable leadership team.
This acquisition positioned the combined company as the largest independent telecommunications provider and fourth largest telecommunications provider – based on access lines – in the United States.
2010On April 22, CenturyLink agreed to acquire Qwest. Qwest's origin dates to 1988 when Southern Pacific Telecom was established to lay telecommunications cable. The company began offering limited long-distance services in 1991 and changed its name to Qwest Communications in 1995. Qwest Communications became a publicly-held company with its successful initial public offering in June, 1997. In June, 2000, the company merged with U S WEST, one of the original Regional Bell Operating Companies that resulted from the divestiture of AT&T in 1984.
2011On July 15, CenturyLink acquired Savvis, Inc., a global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions. This acquisition allows CenturyLink to achieve global scale as a managed hosting and cloud services provider and accelerates its ability to deliver those capabilities to its business customers.
With the completion of the Qwest and Savvis transactions CenturyLink became a national, industry-leading communications company providing broadband, voice and wireless services to consumers and businesses across the country; advanced entertainment services under the CenturyLink® Prism® TV and DIRECTV brands; and data, voice and managed services to business, government and wholesale customers in local, national and select international markets through its high-quality advanced fiber optic network and multiple data centers.
These transactions also resulted in 2011 pro-forma combined revenues of more than $18 billion, a robust national 210,000-route-mile fiber network, a significantly larger enterprise customer base and nearly 50,000 employees committed to providing quality service to our customers.
On April 1, CenturyLink completed its acquisition of Qwest Communications in a tax free, stock-for-stock transaction, creating the third largest telecommunications provider – based on access lines – in the United States.
2013CenturyLink acquired AppFog, Inc. and Tier 3, Inc. to enhance its platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings. AppFog provided a reliable, scalable and fast platform for developing apps in the cloud, and Tier 3 provided a public, multi-tenant cloud platform and a related development roadmap. With the Tier 3 acquisition, CenturyLink opened its Cloud Development Center in Seattle.
2014In December, CenturyLink acquired DataGardens to strengthen its disaster recovery options.
Later that month CenturyLink acquired Cognilytics, an innovative Big Data company. The combination of CenturyLink’s colocation, cloud and managed services and Cognilytics’ “Data to Decisions” advanced analytics solutions will provide comprehensive, end-to-end Big Data solutions to customers.
These acquisitions propel CenturyLink in its transformation to an integrated provider of advanced IP-enabled network, cloud, hosting and IT services.
2015In April, CenturyLink acquired Orchestrate to enhance its Cloud platform with new Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) capabilities.
2016In March, CenturyLink acquired netAura LLC, a security services firm that specializes in engineering, developing and consulting on managed security technologies. The acquisition strengthens and enhances CenturyLink’s managed security services available to business and government customers.
In June, CenturyLink acquired ElasticBox, a multi-cloud application management service startup with offices in San Francisco and Madrid. This acquisition strengthens and enhances CenturyLink's development and deployment of multi-cloud services management capabilities as well as its ability to deliver end-to-end network and hybrid IT services to business customers, globally.
In June, CenturyLink acquired certain assets from the company formerly known as Active Broadband Networks. These assets accelerate CenturyLink’s network automation, add opportunity to move functions into the cloud and enhance software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) services for its customers.
In October, CenturyLink announced an agreement to acquire Level 3 Communications in a cash and stock transaction. This transaction positions CenturyLink as the second largest domestic communications provider serving global enterprise customers and will further enable the company to connect its customers to the power of the digital world. Along with millions of consumer customers, the combined company will also have fiber optic networks connecting tens of thousands of business clients and carry internet and corporate data across the U.S., Europe and South America, allowing enterprise customers more bandwidth, better products and greater capabilities to run their business.
In November, CenturyLink entered into an agreement to sell its data centers and related colocation business to BC Partners. BC Partners is a private equity firm with strong operational experience, including ownership in large communications companies such as Intelsat and Suddenlink. Medina Capital is a co-investor with BC Partners and has extensive data center operations experience, having run Terremark, a large data center operator that was purchased by Verizon in 2010.
CenturyLink will continue to be the one-stop solution for the hybrid IT needs for its customers and remains committed to a wide range of IT services, including managed hosting, cloud and network, as well as colocation, through a strategic relationship with BC Partners. Additionally, CenturyLink will retain a minority stake in BC Partners.