Windstream Shareholders Approve Stock Split, Amendment to Enable REIT

Windstream on Friday moved closer to spinning off its copper and fiber assets into an independent real estate investment trust (REIT).

During a special meeting, Windstream shareholders approved a 1-for-6 reverse stock split. The transaction will be completed after Windstream closes its REIT called CS&L, and distributes CS&L shares to stockholders, according to a press release.  Stockholders also approved an amendment that will facilitate the conversation of Windstream Corporation to a limited liability company, Windstream said.

The Arkansas-based telecommunications company anticipates closing the REIT spinoff in the first half of 2015.

Windstream last year announced an agreement to spin off its telecom network assets into an independent, publicly traded REIT under a tax-free transaction that the company said will enable it to lower debt and boost cash flow. The REIT will lease assets to Windstream through a long-term triple-net exclusive lease with an estimated rent payment of $650 million annually.

The company revealed in December that it was refining its agreement in a move that would enable the company to reduce its debt by $4 billion. In a regulatory filing the previous month, Windstream said it anticipated the spinoff would potentially enable the company “to accelerate broadband investments, transition faster to an IP network or pursue additional growth opportunities to better serve customers."

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