CenturyLink Files Level 3 Merger With FCC

CenturyLink and Level 3 Communications have filed their merger (license transfer) applications with the FCC and their pre-merger notification to the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department.

The merger is valued at $34 billion including debt.

Along with the AT&T-Time Warner merger, it will be one of the first big media mergers to be vetted primarily under the Donald Trump Administration. Trump has talked about reducing regs but also about blocking consolidation among media outlets.

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The FTC or DOJ—they divide those reviews but DOJ almost always handles media mergers—will vet the deal for antitrust issues and either give it a green light, a green light with conditions agreed to by the parties, or file suit to block it.

The FCC will vet the deal for public interest issues that go beyond a straight antitrust review but will look at competition issues as well and consult with DOJ—they coordinate their reviews and stay in touch.

As the companies pointed out, that is the first regulatory step toward the merger.

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Among the pro-consumer benefits the companies are touting are better service, more competition, more broadband deployment and investment.

“Faster, more secure and more reliable networks are crucial to the future for economic development, job creation and staying connected to a global economy,” said CenturyLink senior VP John F. Jones of the filing. “Combining CenturyLink with Level 3 will provide customers with state-of-the-art services over a global platform that meets their growing demand for bandwidth, helps them manage today’s complex communication services and provides them with more robust cybersecurity protections. This merger will help us compete more effectively, thus increasing opportunities for our customers, employees and the communities we serve.” 

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.