updated 12:50 pm EDT, Thu April 22, 2010
CenturyLink aquires Qwest for $10.5 billion
Telecom giant CenturyLink has purchased Qwest, the two companies announced on Thursday. The tax-free, stock-for-stock deal is worth nearly $10.5 billion, but burdens CenturyLink with Qwest's $11.8 billion in debt. The new company will have 17 million lines and about 6.2 million Internet, video and wireless subscribers.
The new company will still be called CenturyLink and will count high speed access as one of its key selling points, as it will offer 173,000 miles of fiber optic networks across the US. It now has a broader range of services, including high-speed (up to 40Mbps) Internet, video, data hosting, along with fiber to cell tower links and other high bandwidth services.
Under the deal, current Qwest shareholders will own 49.5 percent of the new company, while CenturyLink shareholders will own 50.5 percent.
Qwest has been struggling in recent years as it has faced competition from larger carriers, some of whom have offered faster speeds. It briefly took to offering cellphone access but quit the field in October with relatively few subscribers.