CenturyTel to buy Qwest for $10.6B
Posted April 22, 2010 6:31 a.m. EDT
Updated April 22, 2010 11:23 a.m. EDT
NEW YORK — CenturyTel Inc. said Thursday that it will buy Qwest Communications International Inc. in a stock swap worth $10.6 billion, creating a telecommunications giant serving customers in 37 states.
The deal will have an impact on the Triangle and much of North Carolina since CentureTel operates networks once run by Embarq and Sprint.
The deal unites two major providers of traditional landline telephone service.
CenturyTel, which does business as CenturyLink, acquired Embarq Inc., the landline service company once part of Sprint Inc., last year. The firm's regional headquarters in located in Wake Forest.
Qwest provides traditional phone service in 14 mostly Western states and is a successor to one of the regional Baby Bell companies spawned by the breakup of AT&T in the 1980s.
CenturyTel is offering stock worth about $6.02 per share for each Qwest share, a premium of about 15 percent to Qwest's Wednesday closing price of $5.24.
Qwest stockholders will receive 0.1664 CenturyTel shares for each share they own and will hold 49.5 percent of the new company, while CenturyTel stockholders will own 50.5 percent of the business.
CenturyTel, which is based in Monroe, La., is also assuming $11.8 billion in debt of Denver-based Qwest.
Both companies' boards have approved the tax-free acquisition, which is expected to close in the first half of 2011.