Anschutz unloads Qwest
Financier will trim holdings in company to almost nothing by
By Andy Vuong, Staff Writer
Friday, March 2, 2007
Qwest founder Philip Anschutz has unloaded the rest of his stock
in the company, a little more than two weeks before the start of
former chief executive Joe Nacchio's criminal insider-trading
Anschutz Co., the Denver financier's investment firm, sold 2.7
million Qwest shares this week and entered into a contract to
sell another 20.6 million shares by September 2010, according to
a regulatory filing Thursday.
The deals trim Anschutz's holdings in Denver-based Qwest to
essentially nothing. In November 2003, he held 300.4 million
For the most part, Anschutz has cut his ownership in the phone
company through a series of "forward sales agreements" announced
over the past year. The agreements allow Anschutz to keep the
voting rights of the shares until they're sold. He has also
donated 53.5 million Qwest shares to his charitable
organization, the Anschutz Foundation.
In total, Anschutz has pocketed more than $1.5 billion from
selling his Qwest holdings in the past year.
He's also slated to receive a portion of future stock gains
Anschutz is merely diversifying the holdings of his investment
company, said spokesman Jim Monaghan.
"In the context of an investment company that's investing in a
broad number of things, a decision was made to monetize Qwest
stock at this point," Monaghan said. "It was a business
decision that made sense to those involved on the investment
side of the company."
Anschutz's investments in recent years have broadened from
telecom, real estate and oil and gas to a variety of
entertainment assets, which include theaters and sports teams.
Anschutz received roughly $24 million from selling 2.7 million
Qwest shares at prices ranging from $8.65 to $8.78 a share in
deals completed Tuesday, according to the regulatory filing.
In addition, Anschutz received $150.5 million for 20.6 million
shares as part of the forward-sales contract that entitles him
to a portion of future gains in the stock price.
Anschutz was once Qwest's chairman but no longer sits on the
company's board of directors.
Nacchio, handpicked by Anschutz to lead Qwest, is accused of
selling $100.8 million in Qwest stock in early 2001 while he
knew the company's finances were deteriorating.
He has pleaded not guilty to 42 charges of illegal insider
trading. His trial is set to begin March 19 in federal court in
Qwest stock closed Thursday at $8.74, down 14 cents.
Several current Qwest executives have unloaded millions of
dollars in shares in recent months, including chief executive
Dick Notebaert and chief financial officer Oren Shaffer. Shaffer
announced this week he will retire April 1.
Staff writer Andy Vuong can be
reached at 303-954-1209 or