Acquisition of Qwest gets
Minnesota regulator OK
Minnesota's Public Utilities Commission endorses Qwest's $10.6 billion
acquisition by CenturyLink after months of discussion.
By Steve Alexander
March 3, 2011
regulators on Thursday gave final approval to the $10.6 billion
acquisition of 14-state telephone company Qwest by
Approval for the takeover of Denver-based Qwest, Minnesota's
largest telephone company, had been expected, but had been
delayed a month to resolve competitive issues. The vote by the
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission was one of the final
hurdles that the two companies faced as they approach a planned
closing in April. Regulators in several other states where Qwest
provides phone service also must approve the deal.
law, regulators were required to make sure CenturyLink had the
financial and technical resources to run Qwest. Before approving
the acquisition, the commission voted to impose six
competition-related agreements designed to resolve most of the
remaining competitive issues.
Approval had been delayed by a dispute between Qwest and its
smaller competitors, a group of telephone companies called
competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) that depend on
Qwest's network to complete their calls.
CLECs had complained that the acquisition agreement did not
adequately protect their interests in having undiminished access
to Qwest's databases of network information. Without that
unfettered access, some business or rural telephone customers
might not be able to get some services.
While some of the larger CLECs reached separate agreements with
Qwest, many others said there were depending on the acquisition
agreement to safeguard their interests.
Steve Alexander • 612-673-4553