CenturyLink

Texas County’s telephone carrier, CenturyLink Inc., said Monday that it reached a cash-and-stock deal to buy Level 3 Communications Inc. for roughly $25 billion, a marriage that would give the communications companies more heft to weather a competitive landscape.

The deal, which values Level 3 at $69.92 a share as of Friday’s closing prices, represents a 49 percent premium to the company’s closing price of $46.92 on Wednesday, the day before The Wall Street Journal reported the companies were in advanced talks.

Level 3 runs one of the largest internet backbones in the world but has turned its focus increasingly to small and midsize business in an attempt to reverse slowing sales growth in its core business. CenturyLink, traditionally a rural local-phone-service provider, has sought to upgrade its network with fiber-optic lines in a bid to compete with AT&T Inc.,Verizon Communications Inc. and rivals in the cable industry.

CenturyLink gets about two-thirds of its revenue from business customers, while Level 3’s comes entirely from that segment.

Under the deal’s terms, CenturyLink agreed to swap $26.50 in cash and 1.4286 CenturyLink share for each share of Level 3. The company said the deal was worth $34 billion, including debt, and is expected to close by the third quarter of 2017.

CenturyLink Chief Executive Glen Post will lead the combined company, and Level 3’s chief financial officer, Sunit Patel, will serve as financial chief of the combined firm.

The chairman of CenturyLink’s board at the time of the closing will continue to serve as chairman of the combined company. CenturyLink has agreed to appoint four Level 3 board members at closing.

The combined company will be based in Monroe, La., and will maintain a significant presence in Colorado and the Denver metropolitan area.

CenturyLink, formerly called CenturyTel, has been a voracious acquirer. In 2011, it bought Qwest Communications International for $11 billion and Savvis Inc. for about $2 billion, two years after it purchased Embarq Corp. for about $6 billion.

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