CenturyLink-Level 3 deal blows past key California deadline

30 August 2017 by Steve Blum
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Too late.

The already poor chance that CenturyLink would get permission from the California Public Utilities Commission to buy Level 3 Communications before the end of September took another steep nosedive yesterday. A 5:00 p.m. deadline came and went without a draft decision – yes or no – being released by the CPUC administrative law judge (ALJ) and commissioner handling the case.

In the normal course of business, proposed decisions have to go through a 30 day public review and comment process before being voted on by commissioners.… More

No Halloween treat for CenturyLink-Level 3 deal in California

16 August 2017 by Steve Blum
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CenturyLink’s proposed purchase of Level 3 Communications appears likelier than not to be delayed for months. Yesterday, the California Public Utilities Commission set a tentative schedule for completing its review of the deal, with a target date of mid-November. That would mean the two companies will have to agree to extend their self-imposed deadline of 31 October 2017 if they still want to complete the transaction.

That won’t necessarily be the case. The ruling issued by commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves yesterday is vague – in many respects – and leaves room for a faster decision.… More

No express lane offered for CenturyLink, Level 3 review at CPUC

9 August 2017 by Steve Blum
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“I’m hoping there’s something more that the parties can do to prepare for a decision at a later date”, Regina DeAngelis, an administrative law judge with the California Public Utilities Commission, told lawyers for CenturyLink, Level 3 and a handful of organisations that have involved themselves in the regulatory review of the two companies’ plan to combine into one. She presided over yesterday’s pre-hearing conference at the CPUC’s San Francisco headquarters – the opening event of what could be an enquiry lasting several months.… More

CenturyLink will kill telecoms competition if it buys Level 3, VoIP company says

8 August 2017 by Steve Blum
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CenturyLink plans to apply its closed, monopoly-centric business model to wholesale services that Level 3 Communications now sells on the open market, if the two companies are allowed to combine. That’s the gist of an objection filed yesterday to CenturyLink’s planned purchase of Level 3 by a VoIP service provider, Telnyx LLC.

VoIP providers like Telnyx buy wholesale connectivity services that allow subscribers to make calls to the rest of the world via the public switched telephone network (PSTN).… More

CenturyLink puts the joint back into its venture with Level 3

7 August 2017 by Steve Blum
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Someone at CenturyLink – or maybe Level 3 Communications – finally inhaled deeply, exhaled fully and chanted California’s national mantra: go with the flow, go with the flow. In its latest filing with the California Public Utilities Commission, CenturyLink finally admitted that the September deadline for closing its deal to buy Level 3 that it’s been puffing and huffing about, I’m sorry, huffing and puffing about isn’t a deadline at all.

Since the purchase agreement was announced last October, CenturyLink has been trying to jam it through the necessary regulatory reviews by wailing about a phoney, self-imposed deadline and falsely claiming that the deal won’t hurt competition in what passes for a broadband market in California.… More

CenturyLink tones down deadline threat to CPUC

31 July 2017 by Steve Blum
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Okay, maybe not high noon. But can we say twelve-ish?

When CenturyLink and Level 3 Communications signed their marriage license, they set an 11 month time limit to take their vows. That’s common enough in major transactions – setting closing dates makes it easier to structure financial packages and it keeps everyone focused on getting it done. But blowing past such deadlines is not uncommon either, and coming to agreement on extensions is a relatively straightforward process, if the companies involved still want to make it happen.… More

Legacy telcos chalk up historically bad financial results

Forward looking statement.

It’s hard times for legacy telephone companies, at least the sort that have to rely on wireline – mostly copper – systems to serve customers. The plummeting share prices of Frontier Communications, CenturyLink and Windstream have gone where no telco has gone before. According to a story by Sean Buckley in FierceTelecom, that’s the conclusion of financial analysts at Cowen…

“Shares in the wireline [incumbent/rural carrier] space (CenturyLink, Frontier, Windstream) have endured the worst three consecutive quarters in industry history, with shares plummeting an average of -20% in 4Q16, -21% in 1Q17, and -24% in 2Q17 (we note another -5% in 3Q17 thus far), mostly from Frontier and Windstream as CenturyLink shares are being supported by the Level 3 acquisition,” Cowen said in a research note…

Overall, the three companies face the industry-wide challenge of balancing strategic service growth with ongoing legacy service declines and losing market share to cable operators.


CenturyLink defends Level 3 deal with Trumpian flourish

26 July 2017 by Steve Blum
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They could have just tweeted it.

Sean Spicer has a new gig, ghostwriting legal briefs for CenturyLink. There’s no other way to read CenturyLink’s latest filing with the California Public Utilities Commission. It’s a whingeing, self-contradictory and occasionally bitter reply to the California Emerging Technology Fund’s (CETF) continued opposition to CenturyLink’s proposed purchase of Level 3 Communications.

CETF’s objections weren’t particularly on point – they were more concerned with spending CenturyLink’s money than maintaining a competitive fiber market in California – so it’s no surprise that the rebuttal skids and spins like a Lada sedan in a Moscow ice storm.… More

Centurylink deal still contested in California, still an insider game

24 July 2017 by Steve Blum
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CenturyLink’s purchase of Level 3 Communications faces opposition in California, despite a squishy settlement reached with three of the four organisations that objected to the deal. The fourth organisation – the California Emerging Technology Fund (CEFT) – registered its formal rejection of the settlement in comments filed with the California Public Utilities Commission on Friday.

Because Level 3 is certified as a telephone company, the CPUC has to determine if the transfer is in the public interest – whether or not anyone protests.… More

CenturyLink asks CPUC to bypass transparency and ethical practice

5 July 2017 by Steve Blum
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Insiders only.

CenturyLink wants the California Public Utilities Commission to hand wave its purchase of Level 3 through the normal approval process and, in effect, accept a settlement reached with three (of four) protesters as a substitute for a full, public review of the transaction. The pressure is due to a self-imposed deadline of 30 September 2017 for Level 3 and CenturyLink to close the sale. If the review follows standard CPUC procedures instead, a decision might not come for another six months or more.… More