Windstream-EarthLink Merger Clears Another Hurdle With FCC Approval

Windstream-EarthLink logo

The Federal Communications Commission is giving Windstream’s acquisition of EarthLink the green light after no opponents, or even commenters, came forward.

Windstream's David AveryThe $1.1 billion deal already was listed among those that had been granted early termination of their Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust reviews, conducted by either the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission.

In its public notice of the approval, the FCC said: “We find that the proposed transaction presents no significant competitive harms and should likely result in some public interest benefits related to network efficiencies and the increased ability of the combined company to serve customers on its own facilities.”

David Avery, Windstream’s vice president of corporate affairs, tells Channel Partners some state regulatory approvals are pending, as well as shareholder approvals.

“We appreciate the FCC’s timely review and recognition of the public interest benefits of the transaction,” he said. “We still expect the transaction to close in the first half of 2017, and our integration teams are working toward a targeted close of March 1.”{ad}

The combined Windstream-EarthLink will include a national footprint spanning about 145,000 fiber route miles, and provide network connectivity, managed services, voice, Internet and other value-added services. Customers also will benefit from combining Windstream’s scale in the enterprise segment and EarthLink’s successful launch of SD-WAN, the company said.

The lack of opposition to Windstream’s EarthLink purchase is great news for a company that has seen ample challenges to its proposal to drop DSL service in a number of states.

Last week, Windstream launched its own SD-WAN offering powered by VeloCloud and aimed at midmarket enterprises.

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