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Uniti-Windstream Merger Still on Track, CEO Kenny Gunderman Says

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A $13.4 billion merger that will reunite Little Rock telecom firms Uniti Group Inc. (Nasdaq: UNIT) and Windstream Holdings Inc. is still on track to create a “national fiber powerhouse,” Uniti CEO Kenny Gunderman said in a media briefing Tuesday.

In the briefing, which was attended by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Lt. Gov. Leslie Rutledge and Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr., Gunderman emphasized the significance of the merger for both companies.

The new company, which will keep the Uniti name and will be led by Gunderman, will be the largest independent fiber provider in the country. It will have close to 220,000 route miles of fiber across 46 states, as well as 10 million strand miles of fiber and more than 1.1 million customers. There are roughly 10,000 employees across the two companies.

The merger, announced in May, aims to improve services and expand the company’s customer base, as well as bridge the digital divide in underserved communities. The combination will hopefully accelerate fiber-to-the-home deployments and address the growing demand for telecom services by providing connectivity to businesses and consumers.

The combined company will have the deepest “reach into rural America” of any fiber network, Gunderman said. “It’s no less important to get fiber connectivity out to rural America than expanding the electricity grid was in the 1930s and the National Highway System was in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s critically important.”

Uniti customers include the U.S. Department of Defense, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Google, Amazon, Meta and Microsoft, but Gunderman said the company was most proud of customers like local schools, hospitals, first responders and homes and small businesses.

“By staying in Little Rock, this combined company’s growth and success will continue to benefit not just all of central Arkansas, but all of our entire state,” Sanders said. “With the new capacities created by this merger, [they will] be able to lay even more cable, which means better connectivity, especially in our smallest, most hard-to-reach communities.”

Representing Windstream at the briefing were Kristi Moody, executive vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer; Mary Micheals, chief human resources officer; and David Avery, head of government affairs.

The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2025.

Uniti reported first-quarter net income of $40.9 million, swinging to profitability from a $19.45 million loss in the same period a year ago.

Shares of Uniti rose 2.31% on Tuesday to $3.1o. Year to date, shares were down more than 47%.


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