CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Savvis, (Nasdaq: SVVS) today announced that their boards of directors have approved a definitive agreement under which CenturyLink will acquire all outstanding shares of Savvis common stock in a cash and stock merger valued at $40 per share, or a total of approximately $2.5 billion, plus net debt of approximately $0.7 billion which will be assumed or refinanced at close.
Under the terms of the transaction, Savvis stockholders will receive $30 per share in cash and $10 in shares of CenturyLink common stock, subject to adjustment as described below. The consideration represents an 11% premium over Savvis' closing stock price as of the close of trading on April 26, 2011 and a premium of 53% compared to Savvis' stock price at the beginning of the year.
With the addition of Savvis, CenturyLink will achieve global scale as a managed hosting and colocation provider and will accelerate its ability to deliver quality managed hosting and cloud capabilities to its business customers. The combination of CenturyLink's hosting and network assets with Savvis' proven solutions in colocation, managed hosting and cloud services substantially enhances CenturyLink's capabilities and provides the company with a solid platform for future growth.
"The transaction creates a premier managed hosting and colocation provider with global scale in a high growth sector, and is expected to be accretive to revenue growth and cash flow per share," said Glen F. Post, III, CenturyLink chief executive officer and president. "Today, businesses are shifting the way they manage their information technology services and infrastructure, and this transaction helps us meet these needs by offering Savvis' leading products and services coupled with CenturyLink's network. We look forward to working with the Savvis team to leverage CenturyLink's significant scale and scope to fully realize the potential of Savvis' capabilities for our combined customers, while also enhancing value for our shareholders and providing opportunities for our employees."
"As migration to cloud-based services continues to accelerate rapidly, a strategic combination was a natural choice to create significant scale and become part of a large global network for the benefit of our customers, stockholders and employees," said James E. Ousley, chairman and chief executive officer of Savvis. "We believe that combining our proven capabilities in cloud infrastructure and managed hosting with CenturyLink's hosting assets and large base of business customers will create powerful opportunities to accelerate growth. We also look forward to making the full resources of a much larger network infrastructure available to our customers."
Together, CenturyLink and Savvis will operate 48 data centers located in North America, Europe, and Asia with more than 1.9 million square feet of gross floor space; a robust, national 207,000 route mile fiber network; a 190,000 mile global access network; and have a customer list that includes a majority of the Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies.
The acquisition of Savvis is expected to improve CenturyLink's revenue, EBITDA and free cash flow growth profile. CenturyLink expects to realize approximately $70 million in full run-rate annual operating cost and capital expenditure synergies. The transaction is expected to be accretive to CenturyLink's free cash flow per share, excluding integration costs, in the first full year following the close.
CenturyLink anticipates integrating its hosting business and Savvis' managed hosting and cloud services into a single CenturyLink business unit. This integrated hosting business will be based in St. Louis and led primarily by key members of the Savvis leadership team, including Savvis CEO James Ousley, who will head the unit. Following the closing of the transaction, CenturyLink will employ approximately 50,000 people based on the total number of CenturyLink and Savvis employees as of April 26, 2011.
Under the terms of the merger, Savvis shareholders will receive in exchange for each Savvis share $30 in cash and $10 in CenturyLink shares, subject to adjustment as described below. The number of CenturyLink shares issued will be based upon the volume-weighted average price of CenturyLink stock during the thirty trading day period ending three trading days prior to the closing, provided that if this average price is less than or equal to $34.42, each Savvis share will receive $30 in cash and 0.2905 of a CenturyLink share. The transaction is subject to the expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, along with other customary closing conditions, including review by the Federal Communications Commission and international regulators. The transaction also is subject to the approval of Savvis stockholders. CenturyLink has entered into an agreement with Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe VIII, L.P.and certain related parties who collectively own approximately 23 percent of Savvis' outstanding stock to vote their shares in favor of the transaction. The transaction will be taxable to Savvis shareholders for federal income tax purposes. The companies anticipate closing the transaction in the second half of 2011. CenturyLink has received a commitment letter from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Barclays Bank PLC for bridge debt facilities aggregating up to $2 billion to fund a portion of the acquisition and refinancing of Savvis' current debt.
Barclays Capital and BofA Merrill Lynch acted as financial advisors and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrère & Denègre L.L.P. acted as legal advisors to CenturyLink. Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated acted as financial advisor and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Professional Corporation acted as legal advisor to Savvis.