CenturyLink, Inc.
Type Public
Traded as NYSECTL
Industry Telecommunications
Founded April 30, 1968 (1968-04-30)[1]
Headquarters Monroe, Louisiana, United States
Area served Worldwide
Key people Glen Post, CEO
Services Telephone
Fiber-optic internet service
Revenue increase US$ 7.0 billion (2010)[2]
Operating income increase US$ 2.1 billion (2010)[2]
Net income increase US$ 0.9 billion (2010)[2]
Total assets decrease US$ 22.0 billion (2010)[2]
Total equity increase US$ 9.6 billion (2010)[2]
Employees 47,500 (2011)[3]
Website centurylink.com
Shielded by trees and surrounded by a pecan orchard, the CenturyLink corporate headquarters are located off U.S. Highway 165 in Monroe, Louisiana.

CenturyLink, Inc. is a United States telecommunications firm, headquartered in Monroe, Louisiana. The company, founded 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 local exchange carrier in the U.S. in terms of lines served. It also provides long distance service.

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.[4] With this transaction completed, CenturyLink became the third-largest telecommunications company in the United States, behind AT&T and Verizon Communications.



The earliest predecessor of Century Telephone 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.[5] 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.[6][5]

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.[5] 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.[6][5] In 1972, Century Telephone acquired the La Crosse Telephone Corporation, of Wisconsin.[5]

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.[5]

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.[7]

In 1981, Century Telephone acquired War Telephone in West Virginia.

In 1982, Century Telephone's earnings peaked at US$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.[7]

In 1985, both earnings and the stock price had recovered to new record highs. But by then, the company had accumulated US$206 million in long-term debt.[7] Century Telephone sold the operations of War Telephone and two other companies to Colonial Telephone for $4.66 million.[8]

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.[7]

In 1989, Century Telephone Enterprises acquired Universal Telephone, Inc. for US$90 million in cash.[5] 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.[7]

In 1992, Century Telephone acquired Central Telephone Company of Ohio, a Centel subsidiary, for US$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.[5]

In 1993, Century Telephone revenues were over US$425 million, up from about US$350 million in 1992. 1993 earnings were nearly US$80 million, up from about US$70 million in 1992, excluding a nearly US$16 million charge in 1992 due to the cumulative effect from an accounting change that year.[7][9] Also in 1993 the company split its stock three-for-two yet again. However, by then the company had accumulated nearly US$520 million in long-term debt.[7]

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.[7]

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.[5] 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.[5]


Former CenturyTel logo used by the company prior to becoming CenturyLink
CenturyTel office, Ann Arbor, Michigan

In 1999, the company was renamed as CenturyTel, Inc. It split its stock three-for-two once more, and was added to the Standard & Poor's 500 Index that year.[5]

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 70,000 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.[5]

In 2001, CenturyTel acquired CSW Net, Inc. of Russellville, Arkansas, and fended off a hostile take-over attempt by ALLTEL, Inc.[5]

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.[5]

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.[5]

In August 2004, it partnered with EchoStar Communications Corporation for DISH Network multi-channel digital TV. In September, CenturyTel began a relationship with Cingular Wireless.[5]

In 2005, CenturyTel began a wireless voice and data service, and bought a number of fiber networks in the central United States, from KMC Telecom Holdings, Inc.[5]

In 2006, CenturyTel sold its entire Arizona assets to Hopi Telecommunications, Inc., bringing total operations to 23 states.[5]

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.

In 2007, CenturyTel acquired GulfTel; the GulfTel name was phased out by 2008.[10][11]

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.[12]

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.[13]

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; if approved, CenturyLink shareholders will hold a 50.5% share of ownership in the combined company, while Qwest shareholders would own the remaining 49.5%.[14] The valuation of CenturyLink's purchase as of April 21, 2010 is $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.[4]

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.[15] The merger also makes CenturyLink owner of one of the Baby Bells, as much of Qwest was once U S WEST after the breakup of AT&T.

Services offered

CenturyLink is a telephone company. It offers voice and data communications, as well as television and home security services.[16] CenturyLink's local and long distance voice communications is POTS. CenturyLink's data communication is through DSL, 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 "PrismTV" which uses equipment similar to that of AT&T's U-Verse service.[17] CenturyLink formerly offered Dish Network bundles to their customers.[18]

Naming rights and sponsorships




  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e Financial Statements for CENTURYLINK INC (CTL)
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ a b CenturyLink completes $12.2 billion acquisition of Qwest
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r CenturyTel Company Timeline, CenturyTel.com
  6. ^ a b A Look At The Telecommunications Industry: The Best of The Independent Phone Companies, Hedge-hog.com, by Gil Brown
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Standard & Poor's Stock Guide, various issues
  8. ^ Public Service Commission of West Virginia
  9. ^ Century Telephone Enterprise Inc. reports earnings for Qtr to June 30, New York Times Archives, Published: August 10, 1993
  10. ^ http://baldwinnewsnow.com/gulftel-officially-changes-name-to-centurytel-inc-p10622-84.htm
  11. ^ http://baldwinreport.com/2008/04/11/gulftel-changing-name-to-centurytel/
  12. ^ CenturyTel and EMBARQ agree to merge - Company Press Release - October 27, 2008
  13. ^ CenturyTel and EMBARQ Complete Merger - Company Press Release - July 1, 2009
  14. ^ "CenturyLink to buy Qwest for $10.6 billion in stock". Washington, DC: MarketWatch. 2010-04-22. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/centurylink-buying-qwest-in-all-stock-22-bln-deal-2010-04-22?dist=beforebell. Retrieved 2010-04-22. 
  15. ^ Higginbotham, Stacey (2010-04-22). "CenturyTel to Buy Qwest for $22.4 Billion". GIGAOM. http://gigaom.com/2010/04/22/centurytel-to-buy-qwest-to-become-a-big-bell/. Retrieved 2010-04-22. 
  16. ^ "CenturyLink Home Page". CenturyLink. http://www.centurylink.com. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  17. ^ "Residential Television Services". CenturyLink. http://www.centurylink.com/Pages/Personal/Television/index.html. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  18. ^ "CenturyLink Partners With DIRECTV". 2010-08-05. http://www.dish-television.com/2010/08/05/centurylink-direct-t/. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  19. ^ http://news.centurylink.com/index.php?s=43&item=2452

External links

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