(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – Level 3 Communications, Inc. and Global Crossing Limited today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Level 3 will acquire Global Crossing in a tax-free, stock-for-stock transaction. The combined company will operate a unique global services platform anchored by fiber optic networks on three continents, connected by extensive undersea facilities. The combined network will serve a worldwide customer set with owned network in more than 50 countries and connections to more than 70 countries. This transaction will create a company with pro forma combined 2010 revenues of $6.26 billion and pro forma combined 2010 Adjusted EBITDA of $1.27 billion before synergies and $1.57 billion after expected synergies.
Under the terms and subject to the conditions of the agreement, Global Crossing shareholders will receive 16 shares of Level 3 common stock for each share of Global Crossing common stock or preferred stock that is owned at closing. Based on Level 3’s closing stock price on April 8, 2011, the transaction is valued at $23.04 per Global Crossing common or preferred share, or approximately $3.0 billion, including the assumption of approximately $1.1 billion of net debt as of Dec. 31, 2010. Global Crossing has approximately 79 million basic and preferred shares outstanding and approximately 83 million shares outstanding on a fully diluted basis, giving effect to outstanding stock awards, but excluding performance-based stock grants.
The transaction will create a company with a unique capability to meet local, national and global customer requirements in a wide range of markets. By combining the strengths of each company, the new entity will offer enterprise, government, wholesale, content, and web-based customers a comprehensive portfolio of end-to-end data, video and voice solutions.
“This is a transformational combination that we believe will deliver significant value to the investors, customers and employees of both Level 3 and Global Crossing,” said Jim Crowe, chief executive officer of Level 3. “The complementary fit between the two companies’ networks, service portfolios and customers is compelling. By leveraging the respective strengths and extensive reach of both companies, we are creating a highly efficient and more extensive global platform that is well-positioned to meet the local and international needs of our customers.”
“This transaction will provide Global Crossing shareholders with an attractive premium and significant participation in the upside potential of a leading communications company with industry-leading scale and capabilities. The combined service capabilities, extensive network assets and talented employees of the two companies will create a stronger global communications competitor with compelling offerings in the marketplace,” said John Legere, chief executive officer of Global Crossing. “Each of our companies has a reputation for being nimble and flexible in meeting customers’ communications needs, and we expect that to continue – with the added benefit of offering customers significantly greater reach, products and services.”
“We’re looking forward to welcoming Singapore Technologies Telemedia, Global Crossing’s largest shareholder, as a significant investor,” said Crowe. “They are exceptionally sophisticated managers, with holdings in telecommunications and information companies in a number of countries. They know the technology and they know the industry. The breadth of their communications experience and their knowledge of international markets will be a great asset to us.”
“This strategic combination is an important milestone for both Global Crossing and Level 3, and a value-creating proposition for all stakeholders,” said Lee Theng Kiat, president and chief executive officer of Singapore Technologies Telemedia (ST Telemedia). “Going forward, we believe the combined strengths of the two companies will position it in a very favorable, competitive position to expand in the U.S. and compete globally.”
“We are committed to creating a high-performing combined business through a carefully managed integration plan executed by a select team from both companies,” said Jeff Storey, president and chief operating officer of Level 3. “We will begin integration planning immediately and bring an aggressive, disciplined approach to the process. After the closing, as we integrate the two operations and work to achieve our expected synergies, we will be dedicated to maintaining our focus on providing excellent customer service and growing our combined revenues.”
“The combination improves our balance sheet and credit profile immediately upon closing with further improvement as we achieve the benefits of integration. Additionally, the transaction accelerates the achievement of Level 3’s target leverage ratio of three to five times debt to Adjusted EBITDA,” said Sunit Patel, chief financial officer of Level 3. “Including the benefit of synergies and the cost of integration, we expect the transaction to be accretive to Level 3’s Free Cash Flow per share in 2013 and to give us the financial strength to capitalize on the many opportunities available in the global market.”