Windstream’s board of directors has signed off on its planned spinoff of its network assets into a REIT. It’s a highly anticipated action of course, and one that could potentially shift the telecommunications landscape.
That means we have a date for the anticipated birth of Communications Sales & Leasing as an independent entity: April 24, 2015. That’s when Windstream will distribute 80.1% of CS&L’s shares to its shareholders, holding onto the rest to sell off opportunistically over the next year or so. Windstream will also be distributing a bit of cash at the same time with a pro-rated $0.25 quarterly dividend on the same day. The new stock ticker: CSAL.
Just what CS&L will do with its newfound independence is an open question. They could conceivably go straight out on the M&A trail and take network assets off the hands of other CLECs and smaller ILECs via a similar deal. That would diversify them from Windstream, which will initially be its one and only source of revenue. But whether they will find others ready to take such a plunge yet is still unclear.
As for Windstream, they will be parting ways with the ownership of their network infrastructure, but will still be operating and maintaining it as they always have as they provide service to the same customers. At least, that’s the plan. How it actually plays out in reality will be a story for the rest of the year.
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