CenturyLink is a multinational communications company headquartered in Monroe, Louisiana. It provides communications and data services to residential, business, governmental and wholesale customers. The company, incorporated as Central Telephone & Electronics Corporation in 1968, later changed its name to Century Telephone Enterprises, Inc. in 1971, and then was called CenturyTel, Inc. from 1999 to 2010. A member of the S&P 500 index, the company operates as a local exchange carrier and Internet service provider in U.S. markets and is the third-largest telecommunications company in the United States in terms of lines served, behind AT&T and Verizon. It also provides long distance service. Approximately 45% of total employees are represented by two labor unions; the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
It acquired Embarq in 2009 and began doing business as CenturyLink, officially changing its corporate name to CenturyLink, Inc. in May 2010. The company completed its acquisition of Qwest on April 1, 2011
The earliest predecessor of CenturyLink was the Oak Ridge Telephone Company in Oak Ridge, Louisiana, which was owned by F. E. Hogan, Sr. In 1930, Hogan sold the company, with 75 paid subscribers, to William Clarke and Marie Williams, for $500. They moved the switchboard to the Williams family front parlor. In 1946, the Williams’ son, Clarke McRae Williams, received ownership of the family’s telephone company as a wedding gift. In 1947, Clarke Williams learned the telephone company in Marion, Louisiana was for sale. With a loan from business associate Joe Sydney Carter, Clarke purchased the Marion Telephone Company and eventually made it his base of operation as he grew his company through more acquisitions. CenturyLink still maintains offices in the former headquarters building. The company remained as a family-operated business until it became incorporated in 1968.
Central Telephone and Electronics
By 1968, Oak Ridge Telephone Company served three states with 10,000 access lines. That year the company was incorporated as Central Telephone and Electronics. Clarke M. Williams served as president and chairman of the board. Between 1968 and 1972, Clarke gradually moved his headquarters from Marion to Monroe, Louisiana to access the larger employee base and to be near the airport.
Century Telephone Enterprises
In 1971, the company was renamed as Century Telephone Enterprises, Inc. In 1972, Century Telephone acquired the La Crosse Telephone Corporation, of Wisconsin.
On October 24, 1978, Century Telephone moved to the New York Stock Exchange for the first time and began to trade under the ticker symbol CTL.
Century Telephone performed well during the long bear market of the 1970s, as its stock rose over fourfold. The company provided telephone service in parts of 14 states by that time.
In 1982, Century Telephone’s earnings peaked at $14 million, then declined in 1983 following the early 1980s recession, and finally began to recover in 1984. However, the 1983 decline led to a loss of half the value of the company’s stock in 1984.
In 1985, both earnings and the stock price had recovered to new record highs. But by then, the company had accumulated $206 million in long-term debt. Century Telephone sold the operations of War Telephone and two other companies to Colonial Telephone for $4.66 million.
In 1987, the stock price nearly doubled from its low that year, and from its old 1982 record high, before falling back by a third in the 1987 stock market crash. Earnings had steadily grown each year from their 1983 low, and by 1987 reached nearly US$20 million.
In 1989, Century Telephone Enterprises acquired Universal Telephone, Inc. for US$90 million in cash.[ During the late 1980s the company began a long trend in which it performed extremely well. The stock split three-for-two twice in this period, as earnings steadily grew, through the 1990-1991 recession, and by year-end 1991, they reached nearly US$40 million, double from what they had been in 1987.
In 1992, Century Telephone acquired Central Telephone Company of Ohio, a Centel subsidiary, for $135 million. The acquisition served more than 65,000 access lines, and added 20% to Century’s access line total. Also that year Glen F. Post III became Chief Executive Officer and, named Vice Chairman of the Board of Century Telephone.
In 1993, Century Telephone revenues were over $425 million, up from about $350 million in 1992. 1993 earnings were nearly $80 million, up from about $70 million in 1992, excluding a nearly $16 million charge in 1992 due to the cumulative effect from an accounting change that year. Also in 1993 the company split its stock three-for-two yet again. However, by then the company had accumulated nearly $520 million in long-term debt.
By 1995, Century Telephone Enterprises had been added to the S&P MidCap 400 index. Earnings had continued their steady growth trend through the 1994 economic soft landing, and by 1995 they reached over US$115 million. But the long-term debt continued to grow as well, reaching US$623 million that year.
In 1997, Century Telephone acquired Delta Security Alarm Co., Inc. of Monroe, Louisiana, and its largest acquisition up until that time, Pacific Telecom, doubling its size with 660,000 additional telephone access lines in 12 states. Pacific Telecom, Inc. would continue existence and was renamed CenturyTel of the Northwest, Inc.
In 1998, Century Telephone split its stock three-for-two once again. The company acquired another Monroe, Louisiana security company, Century Protection Systems, and also acquired 89,000 access lines and 19 exchanges in 21 northern Wisconsin communities from Ameritech. The affected customers had formerly been served by Wisconsin Bell. Ameritech’s directory publishing operations serving those customers were also acquired.
CenturyTel office, Ann Arbor, Michigan
In 2000, CenturyTel acquired 230,500 GTE lines in Arkansas, and also bought 127,000 GTE lines in Missouri in partnership with Spectra Communications. In Wisconsin, it acquired 133,000 additional lines, and 70,500 access lines for US$195 million from Verizon. That year CenturyTel also bought 62,650 lines for US$170 million in partnership with Telephone USA of Wisconsin, LLC.
In 2002, the son of the company’s original founder and Chairman of the Board Clarke M. Williams died. He was succeeded by then Vice Chairman Glen F. Post III. The company sold its wireless business to ALLTEL, to become a pure-play rural local exchange carrier. Also that year CenturyTel acquired 300,000 Verizon access lines in Alabama, and 354,000 Verizon access lines in Missouri, bringing its total operations to 22 states with 2.5 million access lines.
In 2003, CenturyTel acquired half ownership of SkyComm International, Inc. in Houston, Texas, in March, to form a satellite teleport for its global Network Access Point (NAP) system. In June, CenturyTel also acquired the fiber network of Digital Teleport, Inc., a 5,700-mile (9,200 km) route running from Illinois to Texas, and adjoining states. CenturyTel renamed the network company LightCore. Closing out the year, in December CenturyTel acquired the Midwest Fiber Optic Network (MFON) from Level 3 Communications, Inc. in December, a stand-alone system in the same core central states as LightCore.
In late 2007, the Customer Respect Group, an international research and consulting firm that focuses on how corporations treat their online customers, ranked CenturyTel the best among six leading communications providers.
Acquisition of Embarq
CenturyLink’s combined coverage following Embarq acquisition
On October 27, 2008, Embarq announced that it would be acquired by CenturyTel, Inc. in an all-stock transaction valued at $11.6 billion, including the assumption of $5.8 billion in Embarq’s debt. CenturyTel’s CEO Glen Post would remain CEO of the merged company following the acquisition. Embarq served cities in 18 states, including Nevada, Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.
Name change to CenturyLink
On June 2, 2009, a press release announced that the combined CenturyTel/Embarq entity would be called CenturyLink. Denver-based Monigle Associates was retained to formulate the new brand strategy. The acquisition was completed on July 1, 2009.
On October 19, 2009, CenturyTel and Embarq brandings were retired, and all business was officially conducted under the CenturyLink banner, continuing to trade on the NYSE under the CenturyTel stock ticker CTL. The new corporate name, CenturyLink, Inc., did not become official until May 2010.
Acquisition of Qwest
Network map of combined Qwest and CenturyLink assets
On April 22, 2010, CenturyLink (at this point still legally known as CenturyTel, Inc.) announced it would acquire Qwest in a stock-for-stock transaction. Under the agreement, CenturyLink would swap 0.1664 of its shares for each share of Qwest; as a result, CenturyLink shareholders prior to the merger wound up with 50.5% share of ownership in the combined company, while former Qwest shareholders gained the remaining 49.5%. The valuation of CenturyLink’s purchase was $22.4 billion, including the assumption of $11.8 billion of outstanding debt held by Qwest as of December 31, 2010. The merger was completed on April 1, 2011.
The addition of Qwest allowed CenturyLink to become the third largest telecommunications company in the United States. The new company has 17 million access lines, 5 million broadband customers, and 1.4 million video subscribers across 37 states. The merger also made CenturyLink owner of one of the Baby Bells, Qwest Corporation as much of Qwest was once US West after the breakup of AT&T.
Acquisition of Savvis
On July 15, 2011, CenturyLink acquired Savvis, Inc., a global provider of cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions for $2.5 billion plus net debt of approximately $700 million, which represented all outstanding shares of Savvis common stock at $40 per share. This acquisition allowed CenturyLink to provide expanded managed hosting and cloud services.
On December 4, 2012, CenturyLink launched an integrated suite of cloud services called savvisdirect. Savvisdirect is an expansion of CenturyLink’s portfolio of Savvis cloud services and includes cloud application hosting, cloud servers, cloud storage, and private cloud[ for small businesses, IT admins and developers.
Acquisition of Tier 3
CenturyLink offices in Salt Lake City, Utah
CenturyLink offers voice and data communications, as well as television and home security services. CenturyLink’s local and long distance voice communications is POTS. CenturyLink’s data communication is through DSL, Metro Ethernet, MPLS, ATM, and Frame Relay over fiber optics and copper DS-3 and T-1 lines. The company’s television offerings are DirecTV and an IPTV service named “Prism TV” which uses equipment similar to that of AT&T‘s U-Verse service. Prism TV’s fiberoptic service is currently available in Chandler and Gilbert, Arizona; Colorado Springs and Highlands Ranch, Colorado; La Crosse, Wisconsin; Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri; Orlando, Tallahassee and southwest Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada, and central North Carolina. CenturyLink formerly offered Dish Network bundles to their customers. The company also offers bundling with Verizon Wireless.
The combined company’s 37-state service area is organized into five regions and led by region presidents. The region presidents are responsible for revenue, customer retention, customer satisfaction and service delivery throughout their local markets. The regions, region presidents, region headquarters locations, and states within each region are:
|Eastern Region||Dana Chase||Apopka, FL||Alabama, Florida. Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia|
|Midwest Region||Duane Ring||Minneapolis||Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin|
|Central Region||Kenny Wyatt||Denver||Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas|
|Northwest Region||Brian Stading||Seattle||,Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming|
|Southwest Region||Terry Beeler||Phoenix||Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah|