US fixed line operator Windstream Communications has continued its aggressive acquisition plan by agreeing to buy Q-Comm, a privately held regional fibre transport and competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), for USD782 million including debt of USD267 million. The transaction includes Q-Comm’s wholly-owned subsidiaries Kentucky Data Link (KDL), a fibre services provider in 22 states, and Norlight, a local exchange services company that primarily serves the Midwest. The purchase of KDL furthers Windstream’s aim of upgrading and expanding the fibre network in its own 16-state ILEC territory, whilst the addition of Norlight will enable the group to expand its presence in the SMB market. The takeover will more than double Windstream’s existing fibre footprint, adding over 30,000 complementary, contiguous fibre route miles in 22 states, whilst adding around 5,500 new SMB customers to the base Windstream has started to build with its previous acquisition of NuVox. Windstream CEO Jeff Gardner commented: ‘This transaction builds on Windstream’s strategy to become a next generation telecom provider, focused on broadband and enterprise customers. KDL’s extensive fibre network creates savings for us as well as opportunities to grow business revenues, particularly transport services for wireless carriers.’ The transaction is expected to close in 4Q10, dependant on state and federal approvals. Through the acquisition, Windstream expects to achieve annual operating expense and capital expenditure synergies of approximately USD25 million.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that in May 2009 Windstream entered into an agreement to buy D&E Communications for USD330 million, and the following September it negotiated the USD141 million purchase of Lexcom. The Little Rock-based group agreed to absorb NuVox in a USD463 million deal in November 2009 and later that month it struck an agreement to acquire Iowa Telecommunications Services in a deal valued at USD1.1 billion. Windstream was formed in July 2006 when Alltel spun off its wireline assets; it divides its wireline operations into independent local exchange carrier (ILEC), CLEC and internet access operations across its core 16 states.