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CenturyTel Agrees to Buy Qwest

The merger unites two of the country's largest landline phone companies.

Updated from 4:15 a.m. EDT

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

CenturyTel

(CTL) - Get CenturyLink, Inc. Report

has agreed to acquire

Qwest Communications

(Q)

in a deal that reflects an enterprise value for Qwest of about $22.4 billion, including the assumption of $11.8 billion of Qwest debt.

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Qwest shareholders will receive 0.1664 a share of CenturyTel for each share of Qwest common stock they own at closing. CenturyTel shareholders are expected to own about 50.5% of the combined company with Qwest shareholders expected to own about 49.5%.

Qwest is being valued at $6.02 a CenturyTel share, a premium to Qwest shareholders of about 15% over Qwest's closing stock price Wednesday of $5.24.

The merger of Qwest and CenturyTel merger is one of the biggest U.S. telecom deals in years, the

Wall Street Journal

reports. It unites two of the country's largest landline phone companies.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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