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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of CenturyLink  (CTL) - Get CenturyLink, Inc. Report were surging 14.76% to $32.42 on heavy trading volume early Thursday afternoon as the telecommunications company is in late-stage discussions about a potential merger with Level 3 (LVLT), sources told the Wall Street Journal. 

Level 3 shares were trading higher as well this afternoon.

A deal might be announced in coming weeks, according to the Journal. 

Terms of the potential transaction are not known. 

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About 5.21 million shares of CenturyLink have been traded so far today, well above the company's average trading volume of roughly 4.13 million shares a day. 

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates the stock as a "hold" with a ratings score of C+.

CenturyLink's strengths such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations are countered by the fact that the company has favored debt over equity in the management of its balance sheet.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: CTL

TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this article's author. 

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