Windstream Holding Inc. announced Monday (Feb. 27) that it has completed its with former rival EarthLink Holdings Corp. of Atlanta after both companies’ shareholders approved the $1.1 billion deal over the weekend.
“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,” Windstream President and CEO Tony Thomas said in a statement. “Our customers will benefit from our expanded national fiber footprint and enhanced products and services … network security, managed services and cloud connectivity.”
As of Monday, both companies have satisfied all necessary customary closing conditions. The combined company, which will retain the Windstream name, will be based in Little Rock, and maintain offices in several key U.S. markets.
As part of the deal, EarthLink shareholders will 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.
Windstream also announced three of EarthLink’s directors, Dr. Julie Shimer, Marc Stoll and Walter Turek, have been appointed to the Windstream board of directors, effective March 1, 2017. The appointments bring the total number of directors of the combined company’s board to 12.
Windstream, which will report its fourth quarter earnings on Wednesday (March 1) also announced it 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.
In early trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange, Windstream shares were off three cents at $7.24.