Windstream-EarthLink Merger On Track, No Opponents Make Formal Objections

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Windstream’s acquisition of EarthLink has cleared a federal antitrust hurdle and is now set for consideration by the Federal Communications Commission.

Windstream's David AveryThe $1.1 billion deal 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. The merger is expected to close in the first half of this year.

In the meantime, the FCC opened its review docket on the deal Dec. 2 and reply comments were not due until Dec. 23. The Commission has begun its review and “routine applications are decided well within the 180-day mark,” it said.

David Avery, Windstream’s vice president of corporate affairs, tells Channel Partners that integration teams from both companies continue to work together to finalize plans for combining the two companies to “ensure a smooth transition for customers.” Also, dates still have to be set for the shareholder meetings to approve the merger, he said.

In its latest FCC filing, Windstream said “the record demonstrates the public interest benefits of the transaction, including offering a broader portfolio of services to current and future customers and bringing more customers on-net where possible.”{ad}

“No party voiced any objection to the transaction (or even commented) in response to the public notice,” it said.

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 stated.

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