CenturyLink's $25 billion deal for Level 3 gets Justice Dept. approval
By Drew FitzGerald
Telecom firms must first shed some fiber-optic assets
The U.S. Justice Department agreed to clear CenturyLink Inc.'s $25 billion takeover of Level 3 Communications Inc. if the telecom providers shed some of their fiber-optic infrastructure, moving the deal one step closer to closing.
A consent decree filed Monday in the U.S. Court for the District of Columbia allowed the internet service providers to combine operations provided that Level 3 sells some assets around Albuquerque, N.M.; Boise, Idaho; and Tucson, Ariz.
The companies must also sell 24 strands of long-distance "dark" fiber not in use. Such lines usually go to telecom companies at the internet's core, though web companies such as Google owner Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) (GOOGL) and Facebook Inc. (FB) have built their own network backbones in recent years.
CenturyLink (CTL) and Level 3 (LVLT) unveiled their cash-and-stock merger last year. Executives said joining forces would allow the telecom companies to cut costs and compete more effectively against bigger rivals.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com (https://www.wsj.com/articles/justice-department-clears-centurylinks-25-billion-takeover-of-level-3-1506984790?mod=mktw).
Also popular on WSJ.com: