Monday, October 23, 2017

CenturyLink, Level 3 shareholders ‘overwhelmingly approve’ $34bn merger

Companies expect to complete deal by September 30, 2017, once full regulatory approval is also received from all necessary US and international bodies.

136 days after CenturyLink officially announced its intention to acquire Level 3 Communications, shareholders at both companies have approved the M&A with only 2.45% voting against.

CenturyLink carried out the vote at its headquarters in Monroe, Louisiana, where support for the deal reached 96.3% with those against counting to 3.7%.

As for Level 3, shareholders also held a meeting at the company’s global headquarters in Broomfield, Colorado. There, 98.8% of the votes cast were voted in favour of approving the merger agreement.

In addition to the approvals by CenturyLink and Level 3 shareholders and previously announced state regulatory approvals and clearances in Ohio, Utah and Nevada, the companies also recently received approvals in Georgia and West Virginia and clearances in Connecticut, Indiana and Louisiana.

In a statement, the two companies said they continue to expect to receive the remaining state, federal and international approvals in time to complete the merger by September 30, 2017.

Upon closing of the transaction, Level 3 stockholders will receive $26.50 per share in cash and 1.4286 shares of CenturyLink stock for each Level 3 share they own.

Upon closing of the transaction, CenturyLink shareholders will own approximately 51%, and Level 3 stockholders will own approximately 49%, of the combined company.

The combined company will be headquartered in Monroe, and will maintain a key operational presence in Colorado and the Denver metropolitan area.

Glen F. Post, III, CEO and president of CenturyLink, said: “The combination of CenturyLink and Level 3 will significantly improve our global network capabilities, creating a company with one of the most robust fiber networks in the world.

“This expanded network should allow us to bring substantial operational and service benefits to our enterprise customers, as well as an enhanced customer experience.”

Rumours around the potential acquisition first emerged on October 27, 2016. It would then take CenturyLink only four days to confirm its intention to buy the whole business of Level 3 Communications in what will become one of the highest M&A in terms of investment in recent years at $34bn.

Following the Halloween announcement, on November 4 also last year, CenturyLink revealed it would be selling its data centre fleet in a transaction estimated at $2.15bn in cash to BC Partners to help fund the deal  with Level 3.

Post continued: “We appreciate the strong support from our shareholders for the merger and their recognition of the benefits the combined company will bring.

“We are making solid progress with our regulatory approvals and remain optimistic that the process will continue smoothly with the remaining reviews.”