Windstream Board Approves REIT

Windstream’s board of directors has given final approval to a tax-free spinoff of telecom network assets, moving closer to formation of an independent real estate investment trust (REIT), the channel stalwart said Thursday. The publicly traded REIT will be known as Communications Sales & Leasing, Inc. (CS&L).

Subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, the telecommunications provider anticipates distributing approximately 80 percent of CS&L shares on April 24 to Windstream shareholders of record as of April 10. The company said it intends to use the remaining CS&L shares over the course of a year to reduce debt.

Upon closing, Windstream shareholders will retain their shares and receive one share of CS&L for every five shares of Windstream held, the company said. Windstream will continue to be listed on Nasdaq under the symbol “WIN” while CS&L expects to list its common stock on Nasdaq under the symbol “CSAL.”

In other news Thursday, Windstream affirmed its financial guidance for the year. The company anticipates service revenues will be between flat and a 4 percent decline compared to 2014.

In February, Windstream reported 2014 revenue of $5.8 billion and a net loss of $39.5 million, or 7 cents per share. The results marked a decline in performance compared to 2013 revenues and sales of $6 billion and a profit of $241 million, or gain of 40 cents per share.

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