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CenturyTel-Embarq Merger Given FCC Go-Ahead

The FCC on Thursday approved the $11 billion CenturyTel-Embarq merger – the name of the combined companies – to expanding DSL penetration from 87 percent to 90 percent within three years. Arguably, this would have happened regardless.

Indeed, even Acting Chairman Michael Copps seemed disheartened by the seemingly light requirements and apparent rushed approvals.

“This particular commitment goes significantly beyond the commitments of previous mergers, but it should not be construed as ideal,” Copps said in a prepared statement. “It should be regarded by no one as a standard or indicative of what to expect from the commission when it considers future mergers or, for that matter, the national broadband plan that the commission is currently pursuing.”

Some industry watchers think the FCC – which still lacks a full complement – pushed the CenturyTel-Embarq merger before partially confirmed FCC Chairman nominee Julius Genachowski could steer the talks. Genachowski is expected to scrutinize M&A deals, much more so than his predecessor, Kevin Martin.

CenturyTel and Embarq say they’ll complete their merger on July 1.

Click here to read the full list of the FCC’s conditions, starting on page 27, applied to the CenturyTel-Embarq transaction.


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