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News Release
 
Commission Adds Customer Protections to CenturyTel/Embarq Merger Approval
 
May 21, 2009 (2009-005) (UM-1416)
 
Contacts:  Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962
 
Salem, OR. The Oregon Public Utility Commission has approved the merger between CenturyTel Inc. and Embarq Corporation.  However, the Commission required a number of conditions to ensure customers are not harmed by the transaction.
 
Those conditions include:
  • A moratorium on seeking a higher cost of borrowing money during a general rate case
  • A moratorium from seeking recovery costs connected with the merger during a general rate case
  • CenturyTel will hold customers harmless from increases in management costs that result from the merger
  • In addition the Commission included a provision in which Oregon can capture any additional conditions other states may set Service quality reporting will remain unchanged
 
"In addition, the Commission included a provision in which Oregon can capture any additional conditions other states may set that could benefit Oregonians," said Commissioner Lee Beyer.
 
In reviewing the proposed merger the Commission looked at organizational issues, rates and reporting requirements, financial data, service quality, affiliated interest issues, actions by other regulatory bodies, and comments from others involved in the case. The Commission applied the “in the public interest, no harm” standard in reviewing the merger.
 
CenturyTel and Embarq filed the joint application for merger approval on January 30, 2009.
 
Of the 33 states the new entity will operate in, 18 do not require state approval. The merger also needs approval by the Federal Communications Commission.
 
The merger will be completed through a stock-for-stock transfer and will not require any additional debt to be issued. Embarq Stockholders will receive 1.37 shares of CenturyTel stock for each share of Embarq stock they own. 
 
CenturyTel has approximately 62,000 access lines in Oregon, Embarq 60,000.
 
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