WSJ: Embarq looking to sell amid market chaos

The Wall Street Journal reports that Embarq, the largest of the independent telcos, is looking into a potential sale or merger, but that its progress toward doing so has stalled in recent days with the dramatic ups and downs on Wall Street. The story quotes unnamed sources, but it wouldn't necessarily come as a surprise, as Embarq officials have said since last year that more carrier consolidation at Embarq's level would make sense.

Fellow indie telco Windstream Communications has been saying the same thing, and Windstream reportedly is one of Embarq's potential suitors. Embarq is the larger of the two telcos, with six million customers, compared to Windstream's 3.1 million. Despite both being considered small-market telcos, the customer profiles of the two companies are very different, as Embarq operates in many larger markets and denser suburbs, while Windstream serves smaller markets and geographically-dispersed towns.

The industry has been awaiting more independent telco consolidation since FairPoint Communications acquired former Verizon properties in New England in 2007. But, ongoing credit market turmoil could mean that potential deals could be held up for a while.

For more:
- read this report at The Wall Street Journal

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Embarq has long been seen as interested in consolidation
Windstream also has hinted it is ready to make deals