CenturyLink delays completion of $34bn Level 3 merger

CenturyLink has pushed back the deadline to close its takeover of Level 3 Communications as it awaits approvals from the Federal Communications Commission, the Justice Department, and the state of California.

The US telco was due to close the $35 billion acquisition, agreed last November, later this month, but has now revised the timeline for the deal, saying it expects it to close in mid-to-late October.

So far, 24 states and territories have approved or cleared the acquisition, but the delayed deal cannot close until it is rubber-stamped by the FCC and the DOJ. CenturyLink first filed with the FCC in December, with the process originally due to be completed on 24 September.

California will not vote on the deal until its next general meeting, scheduled to take place on October 12, although the California Administrative Law Judge has already advised state regulators to approve the deal, saying it is in the public interest.

The proposed deal will increase CenturyLink's network by 200,000 route miles of fibre, including 64,000 route miles in 350 metropolitan areas, and 33,000 subsea route miles connecting multiple continents. CenturyLink's on-net buildings are expected to increase by nearly 75% to approximately 75,000.

CenturyLink CEO Glen Post, who is set to lead the combined company, said the “slight delay” is viewed by the company as “manageable”, and does not affect the company’s integration plan.

"We are working to obtain the remaining approvals, including the State of California, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Communications Commission, and want to give the regulators time to complete their review process."

CenturyLink CTO Aamir Hussain recently told Capacity that the company had identified almost $1 billion worth of potential synergies from the merger, most of it coming from operational costs around its network. Hussain also said the deal will make CenturyLink “a worldwide player” and “number two in the world in enterprise”.

To read the full interview with Aamir Hussain, in which he discusses how CenturyLink will merge its network with Level 3, click here