CenturyLink Extends Level 3 Deal Closure Date

CenturyLink said it expects its deal to buy Level 3 Communications will close by mid-to-late October, which will require approval by the FCC and Justice as well as remaining state sign-offs.

That is actually a slight delay in the original projected closing, which had been the end of this month. California won't vote on its state approval until Oct. 12, but CenturyLink pointed out that a California ALJ has deemed the deal in the public interest and recommended the California PUC approve it at that Oct. 12 meeting.

CenturyLink CEO Glen Post said the company views the "slight delay" as manageable and is ready to begin integrating Level 3 into the fold as soon as the deal is closed.

He also said that the company wanted to give the regulators time to complete their review. The company will have to, since the deal cannot close until and if the FCC and DOJ approve it, though the company is working with regulators throughout to provide info and input, so the announcement is a good sign the deal will not be blocked.

The merger, which would boost CenturyLink’s enterprise and wholesale broadband business data services, was announced Oct. 31 and applications were filed with the FCC and for antitrust review by the Department of Justice in December. The merger was valued at $34 billion including debt.

Along with the AT&T-Time Warner Inc. merger, it is one of the first big media mergers to be vetted primarily under the Trump administration. President Trump has talked about reducing regulations, but also about blocking consolidation among media outlets.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.