Qwest-CenturyLink: Federal Customers in 3 States On Board With Merger

CenturyLink Inc. and Qwest Communications International Inc. are making swift progress on approvals for their $10.6 billion merger.

On Tuesday, the companies said theyve sealed agreements with federal-government customers in Arizona, Colorado and Utah. The announcement comes a day after CenturyLink and Qwest said Oregon-based CLEC Integra Telecom now supports their union. Integra had opposed the deal, citing concerns over pricing and competition.

In Arizona, Colorado and Utah, CenturyLink and Qwest will ensure continued sufficiency” of high service quality and employees with necessary security clearances, the carriers said in a joint statement. In return, the federal agencies in question will lobby states public utilities commissions to sign off on the CenturyLink-Qwest transaction.

CenturyLink does work for the Department of Defense and other U.S. government agencies, and Qwest is a key player in the giant Networx communications contract. Glen F. Post III, president and CEO of CenturyLink, said the pact with Arizona, Colorado and Utah is an important milestone in the overall merger approval process, and we are committed to providing high-quality service and expanding our relationship with the DoD and other government agencies once the merger with Qwest is completed."

The M&A should wrap up early in 2011s second quarter; the base price is $10.6 billion, but rises to $22.4 billion once Qwests debt is taken into consideration.

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