Qwest: Other offers besides CenturyLink were considered

Qwest (NYSE: Q) next year will become a part of CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), but it was revealed in a regulatory filing that the RBOC had considered two other merger and acquisition suitors, one of which was a private equity firm.

After Qwest's management team launched its merger search last September, an investment broker introduced Qwest's CEO Ed Mueller to CenturyLink's CEO Glen Post. At that time, the two executives discussed the possibility of carving out a merger deal.

Although it would not reveal the identity of these companies, Qwest was talking with an undisclosed company in November and then a private equity firm, which included a joint venture and complete buyout of the company, in December. However, both the undisclosed company and the private equity firm both took themselves out of the running in February and March, respectively.

Of course, analysts questioned whether Qwest could have gotten a better deal if it waited for another suitor such as Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN) or Frontier (NYSE: FTR) to show up at the bidding table. Obviously, both Windstream and Frontier had their hands full with their own respective acquisitions. Windstream was not only wrapping its acquisition of Iowa Telecommunications, but also integrating the assets it acquired from D&E Communications, Lexcom and NuVox, while Frontier just got FCC approval to proceed with its purchase of Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) rural lines in 14 states.    

However compelling other deals could have been, Mueller said that "if we get all of the benefits today, we need to do it today."

For more:
- The Denver Post has this article

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CenturyLink rings the Tier 2 merger bell - Top Telecom M&As for 2009

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