Windstream, EarthLink Complete Merger

Windstream, EarthLink Complete Merger

Windstream Holdings Inc. of Little Rock said Monday that it has completed its previously announced merger with EarthLink Holdings Corp. of Atlanta, after the both companies' shareholders approved the deal on Friday.

The combined company will retain the Windstream name, be headquartered in Little Rock and maintain offices in key U.S. markets, Windstream said.

The company also announced that expects to achieve more than $150 million in annual operating and capital expense synergies within 36 months of closing, an increase of $25 million over its initial estimates. 

EarthLink shareholders receive 0.818 shares of Windstream common stock for each EarthLink share owned. No fractional shares of Windstream common stock were issued in the merger, and EarthLink stockholders will receive cash in lieu of any fractional shares.

"We are very pleased to announce the completion of our merger with EarthLink, which improves our competitiveness and ability to serve customers while increasing free cash flow and reducing leverage," Tony Thomas, Windstream's president and CEO, said in a news release. "Our customers will benefit from our expanded national fiber footprint and enhanced products and services, including SD-WAN, UCaaS, network security, managed services and cloud connectivity. On behalf of everyone at Windstream, we welcome EarthLink and its talented team, and look forward to a seamless transition as we continue to drive value for all of our stakeholders."

The company also announced three of EarthLink's directors, Julie Shimer, Marc Stoll and Walter Turek, have been appointed to the Windstream board of directors, effective March 1.

Windstream will hold a conference call at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday to discuss the completion of the merger and fourth-quarter and full-year 2016 results.