CenturyTel To Acquire Qwest

How much does it cost for one communications company to acquire another?

Apparently it takes $10.6 billion.

CenturyTel, a provider of local land lines and Internet, is buying Qwest Communications in one of the largest telecommunications deals in a long time.  According the the NY Times, “The combined company will serve local markets in 37 states with about 5 million broadband customers, 17 million wire lines and 850,000 wireless consumers, the companies said in a statement.  The combination of the two companies moves CenturyTel into the third-largest supplier of land line phone lines, trailing AT&T, which has 46.5 million wire line subscribers and Verizon Wireless, which has 32.6 million wire line subscribers.”

Unfortunately this number is expected to decline as consumers continue to rely more and more on their cable companies for landlines or rely on cellphones and cut out landlines altogether.  “The biggest challenge now for CenturyTel is figuring out how to compete against the cable companies,” said Roger Entner, an analyst with Nielsen Mobile.  “They started offering their customers a full bundle of voice, wire line, Internet and television but obviously the cable companies are further ahead because that’s their core business.”

Glen F. Post III, CenturyTel’s chief executive, said the scale attained through the deal would “enhance our ability to deploy innovative IP products and high-bandwidth services to business customers, expand broadband availability and speed to consumers, and offer superior, differentiated video products.”

This seems to be a continuing trend for CenturyTel as the company had acquired Embarq, a spin-off company of Sprint Nextel that provided land line services, in 2008.  CenturyTel has been branding itself as CenturyLink ever since.