MONROE, La. and DENVER – The Iowa Utilitand took action resulting in its unanimous approval of the pending merger between CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) and Qwest Communications (NYSE: Q). Iowa is the first state with both CenturyLink and Qwest local service areas to approve the merger.
“We appreciate the Iowa Utilities Board’s thorough review of our application. We are receiving outstanding support from policymakers, consumers and businesses that recognize the merits of our pending transaction,” said John Jones, vice president – state government affairs of CenturyLink. “CenturyLink has a proven track record of successfully integrating companies and providing high-quality, value-added services to customers. This transaction is no exception and will positively impact Iowa as well as millions of customers across the country.”
“Qwest has a long history of providing communications services to customers throughout the state of Iowa, and we appreciate the Iowa Utilities Board granting approval for us to combine our operations with CenturyLink,” said Steve Davis, senior vice president – public policy and government relations of Qwest. “This combination will create scope and scale advantages that will increase the variety and quality of services for all of our Iowa customers.”
Previously, CenturyLink and QwIowa Office of Consumer Advocate as well as several competitive carriers in the state relating to various retail and wholesale issues. Additionally, the new combined company has committed to spend a minimum $25 million on broadband deployment in Iowa over the next five years.
Last month, regulatory commissions in Virginia and Pennsylvania provided their consent to the merger, bringing the total number of approvals to 12 states and the District of Columbia. The companies must also receive approvals from nine additional states and the Federal Communications Commission. The transaction is expected to be completed during the first half of 2011.
Also last month, the companies reached an agreement with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The unions agreed that the merger is in the public interest.
The proposed merger already has received antitrust clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. Additionally, shareholders from both companies approved proposals related to the transaction in August.
As of Sept. 30, 2010, CenturyLink served approximately 2.4 million broadband customers, 6.6 million access lines and 588,000 satellite video subscribers. On the same date, Qwest served approximately 2.9 million broadband customers, 9.1 million access lines than one million wireless customers. The combination will create a robust 180,000-route-mile national fiber network, which will enable the delivery of a diverse mix of offerings and increased scale.
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.
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 oility 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 possibrs 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.