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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nebraska OKs Qwest-CenturyLink merger

Nebraska regulators on Tuesday approved the merger of telecoms Qwest Communications International Inc. and CenturyLink.

The companies pledged to spend at least $10 million upgrading broadband infrastructure in Nebraska as part of getting approval there. The combined company will own more than 200,000 access lines in Nebraska. Denver-based Qwest (NYSE: Q) and Monroe, La.-based CenturyLink (NASDAQ: CTL) announced the merger in April. It’s worth an estimated $22 billion, $10.6 billion in stock and the remainder from CenturyLink’s assumption of Qwest debt.
As of Tuesday, 16 states including Colorado, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice, and the District of Columbia have approved the merger. The Federal Communications Commission also must sign off on the deal.

The merger is expected to close in the first half of this year.

CenturyLink will own a 50.5 percent, controlling stake in the combined company. It will be headquartered in Monroe. Denver will become a CenturyLink regional headquarters city and home of the company’s division serving large companies and government agencies.

Last month, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission approved the merger. It added a condition that the merged company should keep making charitable contributions in Colorado at a level similar to Qwest’s corporate and foundation giving of the past three years.

Disclosure I am long CTL shares.

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