Windstream Completes Restructuring, Goes Private

Windstream Completes Restructuring, Goes Private

Windstream Holdings Inc. of Little Rock announced late Monday that it has officially restructured and is now a private company.

The telecommunications firm declared bankruptcy last year and has been working to remake itself and cut debt.

The company said it's reduced its debt by about two-thirds, or more than $4 billion, and now has access to $2 billion in new capital.

"Today marks the start of a new era for Windstream as an even stronger, more competitive company," President and CEO Tony Thomas said in a news release.

"With the completion of our financial restructuring, we now have an enhanced balance sheet and a robust capital investment program to expand 1 Gig Internet service in rural America and maintain our product and software leadership in SD-WAN and UCaaS for enterprise customers. We are also pleased to continue our strategic partnership with Uniti Group and expand our mutually beneficial relationship."

Paul Sunu, chairman of Windstream’s new board, added that Thomas and Windstream “made significant strides in the last 18 months to better position the company to compete for the long term. The new board and I are confident that we have the right management team and right strategy to accelerate Windstream’s transformation, return to growth and drive sustainable value creation.”

As Arkansas Business reported last month, Windstream plans to invest heavily in its future as a provider of business communications products and services and high-speed broadband for rural consumers. It now has six new majority owners, all out-of-state firms.

Thomas told Arkansas Business that as a private company, Windstream won’t be run from quarter to quarter and can focus on creating long-term value for its owners instead. He said it could be more aggressive in the short term, by making investments that pay off in two or three years instead of two or three quarters.

Windstream, which was spun off from Alltel Corp. of Little Rock in 2006, has had only one profitable quarter in the past four years. It lost a combined $2.82 billion on $11.56 billion in revenue in 2017 and 2018.

The company filed for bankruptcy in February 2019 in response to a $310 million judgment won by bondholders in a dispute over the 2015 spinoff of Uniti Group Inc. into a separate publicly traded company, also based in Little Rock.

Windstream also unveiled a new corporate logo on Monday.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel, PJT Partners LP served as financial adviser, and Alvarez & Marsal served as restructuring adviser to Windstream during the restructuring process.

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