CenturyLink History

Company History – 06/30/09


On July 1, 2009, the company began operating under the new name: CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL).

On July 1, 2009, CenturyTel completed its acquisition of Embarq Corporation (“EMBARQ”) in a tax free, stock-for-stock transaction creating one of the leading communications companies in the United States.

This combination of two successful companies is viewed with excitement by customers, employees and communities alike. Among the benefits are the creation of an industry-leading communications provider; an expanded suite of products and solutions for our communities; enhanced employee opportunities over time from a larger company; greater financial strength and stability; and the uniting of an experienced, capable leadership team.

This acquisition positions the combined company as the largest Independent Telecommunications Provider and fourth largest telecommunications provider in the United States – based on access lines – serving 33 states with 7.5 million access lines, 2.1 million broadband customers, 450,000 video subscribers and a nearly 17,000-mile core fiber network.


In October CenturyTel agreed to acquire EMBARQ for approximately $5.8 billion in stock based on the October 24, 2008, closing price of CenturyTel’s common stock and the assumption of approximately $5.8 billion of debt. EMBARQ traces its roots back to 1899, when Cleyson Brown formed the Brown Telephone Company in Abilene, Kansas. By 1991, the company was known as Sprint. In December, 2004, Sprint announced a merger with Nextel and its subsequent plan to spin off its Local Telecommunications Division (LTD) into an independent company. The spin-off, Embarq Corporation, was formed on May 17, 2006, with its first day of trading on the NYSE on May 18, 2006 (symbol: EQ). EMBARQ served parts of 18 states, including Nevada (Las Vegas), Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

CenturyTel announced a new dividend policy increasing its quarterly dividend from $.0675 to $.70 per share beginning in the third quarter 2008.


CenturyTel expanded operations in Alabama and Illinois and into Georgia and North Carolina with the acquisition of approximately 170,000 access lines and 2,400-mile-long fiber network from Madison River Communications.


In July CenturyTel completed the Accelerated Share Repurchase program announced in 2005.

In May CenturyTel sold all of its assets in Arizona to Hopi Telecommunications, Inc. (HTI), exiting the state as a service provider. At the time of the sale, CenturyTel served three exchanges with approximately 2,000 customers.


Invested $438 million to repurchase 12.9 million shares of common stock under an Accelerated Share Repurchase program, which mitigated the dilutive effect of equity units settled in May 2005.

In June, CenturyTel entered into a reseller relationship with a wireless provider that will allow CenturyTel to provide wireless voice, picture and text messaging services as part of its full suite of bundled product and service offerings.

In June, CenturyTel completed its acquisition of fiber networks in 16 markets, primarily in the central United States, from KMC Telecom Holdings, Inc. (KMC). With this purchase, CenturyTel adds key markets to its footprint across Alabama (Huntsville and Montgomery), Indiana (Fort Wayne), Kansas (Topeka), Louisiana (Baton Rouge), Michigan (Lansing and Ann Arbor), Minnesota (Eden Prairie), Mississippi (Biloxi/Gulfport), Ohio (Akron, Dayton and Toledo), Tennessee (Chattanooga), Texas (Corpus Christi and Longview) and Wisconsin (Madison).


In February, CenturyTel initiated a stock repurchase program that will allow it to repurchase up to an aggregate of $400 million of either its common stock or convertible equity units.

In August, CenturyTel signed a strategic partnership with EchoStar Communications Corporation that will allow it to provide CenturyTel | DISH Network multi-channel digital TV as part of its full suite of bundled product and service offerings.

In September, CenturyTel entered into a reseller relationship with Cingular Wireless that will allow CenturyTel to provide wireless voice and text messaging services as part of its full suite of bundled product and service offerings.

In December, CenturyTel announced completion of its $400 million stock repurchase program, returning more than $430 million through share repurchases and cash dividends.


CenturyTel purchased an approximate 50 percent ownership of SkyComm International, Inc., a satellite communications teleport in Houston, Texas, in March. The teleport will be the cornerstone of a satellite and fiber, global Network Access Point (NAP), providing convergence for data, video, voice, broadband multimedia streaming services, high-speed Internet and associated applications on a worldwide basis.

In June, CenturyTel purchased DTI’s (Digital Teleport, Inc.) 5,700 route mile fiber network, of which 3,200 miles are lit, in portions of Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Tennessee. CenturyTel renamed the company LightCore.

In August, CenturyTel named Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Harvey Perry Vice Chairman of the Board.

Stacey Goff was named Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary.

CenturyTel purchased the Midwest Fiber Optic Network (MFON) from Level 3 Communications, Inc. in December. This stand-alone system serves as a regional backbone for a number of carriers, including CenturyTel, in Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois.


Founder and Chairman of the Board Clarke M. Williams died following a lengthy illness.

CenturyTel’s Board of Directors elected Glen F. Post, III Chairman to succeed company founder Williams.

Karen Puckett was named President and Chief Operating Officer (COO). She had served as Executive Vice President and COO since 2000.

The company expanded operations to 22 states with the acquisition of about 300,000 Verizon access lines in Alabama.

CenturyTel sold its wireless business to ALLTEL, entering a new era as a leading U.S. pure-play rural local exchange carrier.

The company bought about 354,000 Verizon access lines in Missouri, bringing the total access lines served nationwide to nearly 2.5 million.

The Nov. 25 issue of Business Week ranked CenturyTel No. 16 among the 100 top information technology companies, and ahead of all other U.S.-based telecommunication companies. Rankings were based on revenues, sales growth, profitability and stock appreciation.


CenturyTel acquired CSW Net, Inc. of Russellville, Ark.

The company successfully defeated a hostile take-over attempt by ALLTEL, Inc.


Arkansas became CenturyTel’s second largest state in terms of access lines served with the addition of 230,500 GTE lines added to CenturyTel’s existing 46,000 lines. Partnered with Spectra Communications, CenturyTel also bought 127,000 GTE lines in Missouri.

CenturyTel became the second largest provider in Wisconsin with the purchase of about 133,000 additional lines in 77 exchanges. In two separate transactions with Verizon, CenturyTel spent about $195 million for an outright purchase of 70,000 access lines in 42 exchanges. The company also partnered with Telephone USA of Wisconsin, LLC to buy 62,650 lines in 35 additional exchanges for about $170 million.


Century announced a three-for-two stock split affected as a 50 percent dividend.

The company was admitted to Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index.

Shareholders voted to change the company’s name to CenturyTel, Inc.


Century announced a three-for-two stock split affected as a 50 percent dividend.

The company acquired Monroe, La.-based Century Protection Systems, providing full-service security systems to residential, commercial and industrial customers in northeast La.

Century added about 89,000 access lines with purchase of Ameritech’s telephone and directory publishing operations in 19 exchanges in 21 northern and central Wisconsin communities.


Century acquired Delta Security Alarm Co., Inc. in Monroe, La., providing full-service security systems to a customer base of nearly 4,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in north central Louisiana, southern Arkansas and northwestern Mississippi.

Century completed its largest acquisition to date with the purchase of Pacific Telcom, Inc. (PTI), gaining about 660,000 telephone access lines in 12 states and doubling its size.


The company surpassed the half million-customer mark in its local exchange operations, and the 100,000-customer mark in its long distance operations.


Century paid $135 million for Central Telephone Company of Ohio, a Centel subsidiary serving more than 65,000 access lines. This acquisition increased Century’s access line total 20 percent.

Glen F. Post, III, named Vice Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CenturyTel.


Century paid $90 million in cash for the outstanding capital stock of Universal Telephone, Inc.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized cellular mobile telephone service. Century obtained FCC approval to operate cellular systems in three areas in Michigan.


Shares of Century common stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange for the first time Oct. 24 under the symbol CTL.

Century began to replace electromechanical switches with digital computer technology.


Century bought the La Crosse (Wis.) Telephone Corporation, making a name for itself overnight within the industry.


The company was renamed Century Telephone Enterprises, Inc.


The company was incorporated as Central Telephone and Electronics, with Clarke M. Williams as president and chairman of the board. He had expanded the business into three states serving 10,000 access lines.


Clarke McRae married Mary Kathryn Lee on his return from service in World War II. His parents gave the company to Clarke as a wedding gift.


William Clarke and Marie Williams purchased the Oak Ridge Telephone Company for $500 from F.E. Hogan, Sr. There were 75 paid subscribers. The switchboard was relocated to the Williams’ front parlor so the family could man the board 24-hours a day. The exception was between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sundays, when the office closed for church and dinner. Marie wrote out the bills by hand, and eight-year-old son Clarke McRae delivered them on his bicycle.