Considers Acquiring Firms Outside Telecom
By Dionne Searcey
The Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
NEW YORK -- Nearly a year after losing a bruising battle to
overtake MCI Inc., Qwest Communications International Inc.
is contemplating possible acquisitions that could include
targets outside of the telecommunications industry.
Qwest Chief Executive Richard Notebaert said he might
consider acquiring, for example, an information-technology
firm or a company that hosts Web sites for corporations.
Those types of acquisitions could help Qwest, of Denver,
sell more services to businesses, he said yesterday. Mr.
Notebaert's speculations about acquisitions included not
ruling out a cable company.
When trying to calculate Qwest's future moves, investors and
analysts "probably think of traditional [telecom] companies
but we might look to either side of that," Mr. Notebaert
said in an interview.
At the same time, he said, "We aren't going out on some
buying binge." Any deal, he said, "would have to be
Mr. Notebaert has often said the company would consider
acquisitions if the price was right. He said as much again
yesterday, noting that Qwest can afford to be patient and
Qwest lost a bitter takeover fight with Verizon
Communications Inc. for MCI last year. Yesterday, Mr.
Notebaert said he would not be averse to pursuing another
type of mega deal in the future.
Qwest is recovering from an accounting scandal several years
ago that forced it to restate billions of dollars of
revenue. It has taken steps to improve its financial
condition, recently re-engineering its $15.5 billion debt
load. Mr. Notebaert has said the company could turn
profitable in 2006.
Dionne Searcey at