CenturyLink is a leading US telecoms provider, formed from the acquisition and merger of several separate businesses including fixed line provider Embarq (previously part of Sprint) in 2009 and regional service Qwest in 2011. It is now the second largest fixed line provider in the US, but the number of consumer customers has been steadily shrinking as a result of the general move towards mobile rather than fixed connections. As a result, CenturyLink has been gradually repositioning itself as primarily a provider of enterprise technology services including cloud connectivity, data center management, IP and IT consultancy. It acquired cloud storage and IT services business Savvis in 2011 and five years later announced plans to acquire broadband network provider Level 3 Communications for around $20bn. That deal, completed towards the end of 2017, gave the merged group an extensive global internet infrastructure. Further expansion into IT services has continued to marginalise what was previously its core business of fixed line consumer voice connections in rural communities. At the same time, the CenturyLink brand has gradually been sidelined, with fiber internet services relaunched as Quantum Fiber. That process eventually led to the introduction in 2020 of Lumen Technologies as the main corporate brand, incorporating CenturyLink, Level 3 and other units. Revenues for 2019 were $22.4bn, with a net loss of $5.3bn. That included a huge goodwill impairment charge of $6.5bn. Consumer telecoms only contributed around a quarter of revenues that year. Glen Post was the original architect of the transformation of regional telecoms company CenturyTel into a national player. He retired in 2018 after 26 years as CEO, and was succeeded by Level 3's Jeff Storey.
Capsule checked 22nd December 2020
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