The FCC has approved the sale of Lumen local exchange carrier operations in 20 states to Apollo-managed funds. The deal is expected to close early in the fourth quarter.
FCC approval was the final hurdle in obtaining regulatory approvals for the $7.5 billion deal, which already received approvals from the public utility commissions in all 20 states.
Lumen will retain its national fiber routes and its local operations in 16 states.
When the deal is closed, Lumen operations in the other 20 states will operate as Brightspeed. Apollo management established Brightspeed in November 2021, just three months after the deal was announced. At that time, Brightspeed’s top management team was already in place.
Since then, Brightspeed has announced plans to invest $2 billion to expand fiber broadband in the Lumen territories to three million homes in the next five years and has provided more detailed fiber broadband plans for more than half of the 20 states.
“This transaction will benefit all of these customers, both in Lumen’s remaining 16-state footprint and in the 20 states moving to Brightspeed,” said Melissa Mann, Lumen vice president of public policy and government affairs, in a press release.
At the time the deal with Apollo was announced, Lumen said the divestiture would enable it to focus on broadband speed upgrades in the 16 states it would be retaining. The other 20 states would have had a lower priority.
Lumen was announced in 2020 as a new brand and new corporate name for the company comprised of the CenturyLink local exchange business and Level 3, a nationwide carrier focused on the enterprise and wholesale markets. The Lumen name is now used for the former Level 3 operations and for the corporation, while the CenturyLink name is used for the local exchange business.