The CenturyTel Inc.-Embarq Corp. merger closed Wednesday morning, creating the nation’s largest rural LEC.
CenturyTel said late last year it would buy its larger rival for approximately $11 billion. The official total came to $11.6 billion.
For now, the two carriers will operate separate brands. They’ve already announced they’ll go by CenturyLink , but that name won’t take effect until later this year; CenturyTel and Embarq need their shareholders’ approval before they can assume a new identity.
The official close of the deal comes about a week after the FCC gave the merger its approval. Together, CenturyTel and Embarq serve about 7.5 million lines in 22 states, plus 2.1 million broadband subscribers and more than 440,000 video customers.