Windstream axes 220 jobs as it completes Iowa Telecom integration

Windstream's (Nasdaq: WIN) integration of Iowa Telecom into its fold may have gone according to schedule, but it comes with the cost of having to lay off 220 workers in its Iowa and Minnesota regions.

The company restructuring, however, does not impact employees in Arkansas, the ILEC's home state.

Windstream will cut the majority of the 146 positions, which include network operations, information technology and finance, in Newton, Iowa by the end of the year and the remaining by January next year.

In June, Windstream wrapped its $1.2 billion acquisition of Iowa Telecommunications Services Inc.--its largest deal to date in terms of dollar amount. By acquiring Iowa Telecommunications, Windstream added approximately 256,000 access lines, 95,000 DSL customers and around 26,000 digital TV subscribers.

Jeff Gardner, President and CEO of Windstream, revealed in a recent interview with FierceTelecom that "the bulk of our integrations behind us and we have only one big billing conversion left, which is with Iowa Telecom."

Although the job cuts appear to be set on eliminating overlapping functions, Windstream maintains that essential operational functions, including customer service, technicians and sales will remain untouched.

"As we move forward, Windstream is committed to maintaining a significant operation in Newton, including the call center there," said Brent Whittington, Windstream's COO, in a release. "Additionally, our field staff, including network technicians and business sales teams, are largely unaffected by the restructuring and will continue in their roles serving customers."

Although its M&A strategy differs radically from the multi-billion acquisition strategy of its two independent ILEC counterparts Frontier (NYSE: FTR) and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), Windstream has become a necessary consolidator of the crowded tier 2 ILEC and CLEC industries.

For more:
- Arkansas Business Journal has this article

Related articles:
Jeff Gardner, CEO and President of Windstream on industry consolidation, the future of broadband and business service growth
Windstream wraps up acquisition of Iowa Telecom
Iowa Telecommunications Services' board approves merger with Windstream
Windstream adds Iowa Telecommunications to its acquisition cart
Windstream: Waiting to strike? - Sizing up ILEC M&A activity