NEW YORK - Verizon Communications has agreed to sell all 675,000 of the company's switched access telephone lines in Alabama and Missouri to CenturyTel for $2.159 billion.
The transaction includes 90 wireline telephone exchanges and approximately 306,000 access lines in Alabama and 98 exchanges and approximately 369,000 access lines in Missouri. The transaction does not affect Verizon's offering of long-distance, Internet, wireless and directory publishing services in Alabama and Missouri.
Verizon and CenturyTel, headquartered in Monroe, La., described the transaction as a way for each company to better concentrate on core markets and create both immediate and long-term value for their investors.
"This transaction will allow us to sharpen our focus on competing in targeted markets and on growing the company. We will focus resources on states where we have greater critical mass in terms of operations support and clustered markets," said Lawrence T. Babbio Jr., Verizon vice chairman and president.
Under the agreement, approximately 450 Verizon wireline employees in Alabama and approximately 500 in Missouri will join CenturyTel when the sale closes. Other employees located in national Verizon operations centers in the two states will remain with the company after the closing of the sale.
"Verizon and CenturyTel worked together to reach an agreement that provides for the fair and equitable treatment of the affected Verizon employees in Alabama and Missouri," Babbio said.
The sale must be approved by the Alabama and Missouri public service commissions, the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice. The companies expect to close the sale and transfer Verizon's operations to CenturyTel during the second half of 2002.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 125 million access line equivalents and more than 28 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with about 260,000 employees and approximately $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.
CenturyTel, Inc. provides communications services including local exchange, wireless, long distance, Internet access and data services to more than three million customers in 21 states. The company, headquartered in Monroe, Louisiana, is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CTL. CenturyTel is the 8th largest local exchange telephone company, based on access lines, and the 8th largest cellular company, based on population equivalents owned, in the United States. For more information about CenturyTel, visit www.centurytel.com">.