DOJ approves Century Link/Level 3 deal – with conditions

BROOMFIELD — CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) was given the OK by the Department of Justice to acquire Broomfield-based Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT).

Although the deal got its antitrust approval, there are some conditions that must be met. The deal is also pending regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission.

Per the Department of Justice, the combined company must divest of Level 3’s metro network assets and certain dark fiber assets.

Specifically, they must divest of assets in Albuquerque, N.M.; Boise, Idaho and Tucson, Ariz. The combined company can continue to serve those areas, unless the cities choose to be served by the buyer of the assets. If the combined CenturyLink/Level 3 needs to provide uninterrupted access, then they can purchase services from the buyer of the divested assets.

The combined company must also divest of 24 strands of dark fiber in 30 city pairs across the country.

The divestitures are not expected to make significant impact on the company’s revenue.

“We are pleased that the Department of Justice has conditionally cleared CenturyLink’s acquisition of Level 3. It is an important milestone in our overall approval process,” John F. Jones, CenturyLink senior vice president for public policy and government relations, said in a prepared statement. “We anticipate court approval of our agreed resolution with the Department of Justice as early as this week. We are focused on meeting our targeted transaction closing time frame of mid-to-late October.”

The deal has gotten approval and regulatory clearance from several states already, including Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.