Verizon, XO Communications say strike is not delaying fiber deal

An XO Communications executive's statement that Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) wireline worker strike, which is now in its fourth week, is delaying the carrier's pending acquisition of XO's fiber network, is not the case and was "taken out of context."

John O'Malley, a Verizon spokesman, told FierceTelecom in an e-mail that the strike is not holding up the the purchase of XO's fiber assets. 

"We continue to work through the regulatory process and the process has not been delayed," O'Malley said.

Channel Partners reported that Bill Hooper, XO's vice president of partner channels, told attendees of the Intelisys New England Mindshare event in Boston that the acquisition has been put on hold as a result of the strike, but "it's business as usual," adding that the deal is on track to close early next year.

XO Communications also denied that the strike is causing any issues with the Verizon deal. 

"The statement was taken out of context," said an XO representative in an interview with FierceTelecom. "XO does not believe the strike is impacting or delaying the deal approval process and the closing of the transaction."

In February, Verizon announced an agreement to acquire XO's fiber network for $1.8 billion. This deal is transformational for Verizon in that it will give the ILEC an arsenal of lit and dark fiber facilities to achieve two goals: expand its wireline Ethernet services for businesses, and add a new backhaul asset for its burgeoning small cell network.

XO currently operates metro networks in 40 major U.S. markets with over 4,000 on-net buildings and 1.2 million fiber miles. The service provider's intercity network also spans 20,000 route miles connecting 85 cities.

Verizon wireline workers represented by the CWA and IBEW labor unions have been on strike since April 13 after neither side could come to an agreement over various issues such as health care, pension and outsourcing work.

XO isn't the only company that's concerned about the effects of the strike.

BCM One, a Verizon master agent, told Channel Partners that it is concerned that the strike could potentially cause problems for its clients.

"The enterprise clients understand the impact a strike has had and will have so we were able to put in place plans to deal with the situation and creatively implement alternate solutions and work with the Verizon teams to minimize impacts to our clients," said Frank Wassenbergh, BCM One's vice president of sales, in the Channel Partners article. "However, the longer the strike does persist, we do see those plans getting stressed and more issues will arise that may not be foreseen, so we are hoping for a timely resolution of this strike."

For more:

- Channel Partners has this article

Special Report: Verizon CWA, IBEW workers' 2016 strike: full coverage

Related articles:
Verizon acquires XO's fiber business for $1.8B, feeding enterprise services, wireless backhaul efforts
Verizon wireline strikers arrested outside company's annual stockholders meeting
Verizon deploys additional contractors as CWA, IBEW reject telco's new labor offer
Verizon presents 'last, best final' labor contract offer to wireline union workers

This article was updated on May 10 with additional information from Verizon and XO about the pending deal.

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