Minnesota Regulators Clear CenturyLink-Qwest Merger

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Thursday became the second state this week to approve the merger between CenturyLink Inc. and Qwest Communications. Arizona regulators approved the transaction a few days ago.

As part of the approval process, Denver-based Qwest and Monroe, La.-based CenturyLink committed to investing at least $50 million in broadband infrastructure in the North Star State over five years.

CenturyLink is close to finalizing its multi-billion dollar acquisition of Qwest, although the companies still need regulatory clearance in two states Oregon and Washington plus Federal Communications Commission approval.

In its fourth-quarter earnings announcement, CenturyLink revealed that it anticipates closing its acquisition of Qwest on April 1.  Under the transaction, Qwest shareholders will receive .1664 shares of CenturyLink stock. 

The merger will create a company with annual revenues in excess of $18 billion.

Qwest reported 2010 revenues of $11.73 billion while CenturyLink posted annual revenues of $7.04 billion.

At the end of the year, the companies served roughly a combined 15.4 million access lines, 5.3 million broadband customers and 1.6 million TV subscribers. Qwest also supports about 1 million wireless customers.

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