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CenturyLink completes acquisition of Qwest

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CenturyLink has announced it has completed its $12.2 billion all-stock acquisition of Qwest Communications, resulting in a new company with some 47,000 employees that’s the third largest telco in the United States. Between Qwest’s and CenturyLink’s networks, CenturyLink now offers services in some 37 states, as well as wholesale connectivity to government and business customers via nearly 200,000 miles of fiber. The combined company will operate under the name CenturyLink—which will be a lot of rebranding for Qwest, which is still operating with a lot of gear bearing its previous name, U.S. West.

“The combination of our two companies allows us to offer customers of all sizes an even more robust portfolio of communications solutions that will continue to be backed by honest and personal service,” said CenturyLink CEO and president Glen F. Post III, in a statement.

The deal was announced almost a year ago and had been undergoing regulatory approvals. The all-stock acquisition has Qwest investors receiving 16.64 percent of a CenturyLink share for ever share of Qwest they owned. CenturyLink is going to keep is corporate headquarters in Monroe, Louisiana, and convert Qwest’s Denver headquarters into the main location for its Business Markets Group as well as one of CenturyLink’s six regional headquarters.

Both CenturyLink and Qwest have been shedding employees and struggling to compete in the telecommunications market as consumers increasingly switch to mobile or cable-based voice service rather than plain-old landline telephone service. As an ISP, Qwest has made inroads via high-speed XDSL offerings that have the company offering unmetered broadband at speeds up to 40 Mbps in selected markets; however, availability is scattershot and, like all DSL, strongly dependent on distance from telco equipment.