**Editor’s Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting merger and acquisition news from August.**
The U.S. Department of Justice has cleared CenturyLink’s pending acquisition of Level 3 Communications, subject to conditions, including the sale of certain Level 3 metro network assets and dark fiber.
The acquisition remains subject to regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission, and requires customary closing conditions. CenturyLink anticipates the transaction to close sometime this month.
The combined company is required to divest Level 3 metro network assets in three metro areas: Albuquerque, New Mexico; Boise, Idaho; and Tucson, Arizona. The combined company will continue to serve all current Level 3 customers unless they choose to be served by the buyer of divested assets in each metro area.
Where needed to provide uninterrupted service to customers, CenturyLink said it may purchase some network services from the buyer of divested assets in each metro area. It retains all of its existing networks and business operations in these three metro areas and will continue to provide telecommunications and data services to residential and business customers.
The combined company also will divest 24 strands of dark fiber connecting 30 specified city-pairs across the country in the form of an Indefeasible Right of Use, a customary structure for such transactions. Because the fiber is not currently in commercial use, this divestiture will not affect any current customers or services, CenturyLink said.
“We are pleased that the Department of Justice has conditionally cleared CenturyLink’s acquisition of Level 3,” said John Jones, CenturyLink’s senior vice president for public policy and government relations. “It is an important milestone in our overall approval process. We anticipate court approval of our agreed resolution with the Department of Justice as early as this week. We are focused on meeting our targeted transaction closing time frame of mid-to-late October.”