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Windstream, PAETEC Deal Creates S&P 500 Company

The completed merger between Windstream Corp. and PAETEC Holding Corp. has created an S&P 500 company that serves more than 450,000 businesses, a Windstream executive said Thursday.

The combined company also controls about 100,000 miles of fiber in North America across small towns and big cities, said John Leach, Windstream’s executive vice president of business sales, in a posting. Another benefit of the acquisition, Leach said, is PAETEC’s “enterprise-level expertise and product offerings” that will improve Windstream’s business division.

“Today we officially combine with PAETEC and welcome thousands of great customers and associates into the fold,” Leach said.

Windstream’s acquisition of PAETEC creates a company with estimated annual revenues of $6.1 billion and EBITDA of $2.4 billion, with 70 percent of revenues deriving from business and broadband sales, according to Zachs Equity Research in a note over the summer after the $2.3 billion deal was announced.

As an S&P 500 company, Little Rock, Ark.-based Windstream also gains more visibility among investors. “Widely regarded as the best single gauge of the U.S. equities market, this world-renowned Index includes 500 leading companies in leading Industries of the U.S. economy,” according to Standard & Poors.

Windstream said it expects the deal to add to free cash flow per share, excluding an anticipated $50 million in merger and integration costs, in the first year. The company anticipates realizing over three years roughly $100 million in “annual pre-tax operating cost synergies” and $10 million in savings on capital expenditures.

The merger creates a company with a combined workforce of roughly 15,000 employees, but that number is likely to shrink as Windstream integrates Fairport, N.Y.-based PAETEC into its operations.

Under the agreement, PAETEC shareholders received 0.460 shares of Windstream stock for each PAETEC share owned at closing. Windstream issued shares and assumed equity awards representing about 73.4 million shares of Windstream stock valued at approximately $863 million, based on the companys closing stock price on Nov. 30. Windstream also assumed PAETECs net debt of roughly $1.4 billion.

Shares of Windstream were trading down 6 cents to $11.70 as of 10:52 ET.


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