Light Reading
Strategy separating services organization from network operations could catch on elsewhere and is already a big hit on Wall Street.

Is Windstream Boldly Setting a New Trend?

Carol Wilson
7/29/2014
50%
50%

Windstream's bold move Tuesday to separate its services business from the underlying physical network could be just the first of many such moves within telecom. (See Windstream Spins Network Assets Into a REIT.)

In fact, as Windstream Communications Inc. (NYSE: WIN) spins off its physical network assets - namely its copper and fiber distribution networks - into a real estate investment trust (REIT), the new company is expected to sign up other communications service providers as "tenants," company executives said today.

Wall Street cheered the move, lifting Windstream's stock by nearly 14% to $11.99, and even boosting other telecom stocks in anticipation of other similar deals.

The move puts the low-growth, capital-intensive part of a telecom operation -- the access networks -- into one business, while enabling the original parent company to focus on higher-growth strategic efforts in the enterprise space.

Windstream executives this morning were promoting the deal as a positive for all involved - its investors, its customers, and the two resulting companies, each of which will have a sound strategy going forward.

The deal "unlocks significant shareholder value" for Windstream investors, who get shares in the new company commensurate with their existing shares, and will receive dividends from both companies, says Windstream CEO Jeff Gardner.

For Windstream, the advantages are a massive reduction in its net debt -- to the tune of $3.2 billion -- made possible by payments from the REIT, enabling the company to move ahead more quickly with broadband expansion, the transition to an all-IP network, and additional new services for the mid-sized enterprise market it is targeting, he adds.

For consumer customers, the move means better access to broadband. The company is promising to expand the reach of its 10 Mbit/s broadband to 80% of its customers, while delivering 24 Mbit/s to 30% of its footprint.

As importantly, Gardner says, the company will be able to respond more quickly to new service demand in the enterprise space, where Windstream's network and cloud services target mid-sized businesses and often serve Tier 2 cities. (See Windstream Makes Regional Cloud Play and Windstream Portal Integrates Cloud, Network.)

"It's about better aligning with where we'd like to take the business, and [delivering] more flexibility to meet our business goals," the CEO comments. Noting the fast pace of change and the impact of mergers and acquisitions in the cloud and business services space, Gardner says the new Windstream will be more nimble and better able to respond.


Our NFV & the Data Center event digs deeper into how telecom service providers are evolving their data center strategies. You can check it out here on Light Reading.


The REIT, meanwhile, will initially have Windstream as an anchor tenant, but will be able to grow independently by physical expansion into other markets and by obtaining other tenants.

The deal, which has U.S. Internal Revenue Service approval but still needs state regulatory acceptance, is complex but straightforward. The new REIT will take on about $2.2 billion in Windstream debt in a straight debt-for-debt exchange, and also provide $1.2 billion in cash, which Windstream will use as part of its debt reduction plans. Windstream's net debt reduction, after fees and expenses, will be $3.2 billion.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(20)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/31/2014 | 3:06:34 PM
Re: The rubber hits the road
FakeMitch, I see your point, but I am still skeptical. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
7/31/2014 | 2:48:31 PM
Re: The rubber hits the road
thebulk - Simple regulations are better than complicated ones. The more complicated the regulation, the more susceptible it is to being thwarted by megabilliondollar companies with teams of high-priced lawyers. 

Separating pipes from service has the virtue of being nice and simple. Net neutrality proposals sound simple on the surface, but they get hairy the more they think about them. 
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/31/2014 | 6:23:41 AM
Logic
Who wouldn't want to be 3.2 million dollars less in debt? Its just amazing how the thought process behind this was move came about, the move not only reduces losses but enables the company to move forward with broadband expansion and additional services, I hope it's a move that will be followed by the rest because no doubt, its going to be very successful.
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/31/2014 | 6:14:53 AM
Why Windstream Has A Promising Future
This move by Windstream has quite a lot of benefits to both he members who act as executives, the employees and the customers who get their services from this company. The inventors get to get the shares from both the telecom and the windstream company which is very profitable to them. Customers will be able to get fast and efficient services as they will be quick service respond. The customers also are able to quickly access broadband. The windstream company certainly has a promising future seeing what telcom has been able to achieve over time.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/30/2014 | 8:50:02 AM
Re: Magic
If the aggregate share prices of the two separate entities is greater than the original share price used to be, then mission accomplished. If not, then this is a fail from the corporate perspective. Remember when Ziff spun out Key3 Media? Same principle here. Let's hope for Windstream's sake the result is different
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/30/2014 | 5:28:59 AM
Re: The rubber hits the road
Is it really a possible solution or just a work around to Net Neutrality? I am skeptical... 
brooks7
50%
50%
brooks7,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/29/2014 | 9:13:29 PM
Re: Magic
Marc,

It goes something like this....

Would you rather own an access network - which is NOT the pipes Mitch - or would you rather be RingCentral (as an example)?

The access network is an asset that is a depreciating physical plant that needs maintenance and upgrade.  It is a low to no growth business at best, a declining one more likely.  The good news is that its hard to replicate so won't have a lot of competition.  So possible cash flow, but not a rising share price.  On top of that, the note of people leasing the network is pretty funny.  Companies can already do that through UNE-L.  Why would they start now?

The services business has a lot of potential growth but a lot of competitors.  If you really want to be a Cloud Company, you should plan to have a solution that gets connected over the Public IP network.  If you are connected to data centers over Public IP networks, then essentially all bandwidth is created equal and is a commodity.  There are Enterprise Apps that need different connectivity, but things like Salesforce.com work quite nicely without owning a single customer network or requiring a VPN.

I have put forth for a long time that network providers have no advantage in building Cloud Apps and this is why.  It is not clear to me that integrating 3rd party products (like RingCentral) is a great model.  The SW development houses (Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce) are doing a LOT better than the deployment houses.  But for no plant, you can be in the voice business by buying a VoIP switch.  Rent some Data Center Space and poof you are Vonage.

seven
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
7/29/2014 | 8:55:25 PM
Re: The rubber hits the road
This kind of thing is a potential solution to the net neutrality problem -- one company owns the pipes, other companies provide the service. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
7/29/2014 | 8:53:09 PM
Re: Magic
If you stick feathers on a dog and call it a falcon, will it fly?

Don't think you're trying that on my dog, buster. 
MarkC73
50%
50%
MarkC73,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/29/2014 | 7:18:41 PM
Re: Magic
I'm not sure if I'm on the camp of 2 halves are greater than a whole.  I guess I'll dig deeper in what the restructuring really means to both sides, or just wait and see what happens.  Because I don't really see the difference between 'tenants' of tomorrow and wholesale customers of today.  Financially, not burdening the two sides, smells of spin off opprotunity to me.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Custom TV
Using Service Quality to Drive WiFi Monetization

10|22|14   |   6:51   |   (0) comments


Live from the SCTE conference: Heavy Reading's Alan Breznick explores the forces shaping the WiFi opportunity in an interview with CableLabs' Justin Colwell and Amdocs' Ken Roulier.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 2

10|21|14   |   8:51:00 AM   |   (0) comments


ARRIS CTO Network Solutions Tom Cloonan discusses why many if not most MSOs will continue with integrated CCAP, while addressing why some are also looking at two futuristic, distributed access architectures: Remote PHY and Remote CCAP.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 1

10|21|14   |   9:01   |   (0) comments


SCTE Sr. Director of Engineering Dean Stoneback discusses the pros and cons of distributed access architecture (DAA) and its various forms, which range from basic Remote PHY to full CMTS functionality in the node.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 2

10|21|14   |   3:58   |   (0) comments


ARRIS Senior Solution Architect Eli Baruch talks about how MSOs can enable public and community WiFi through 1) outdoor access points, 2) businesses seeking to offer WiFi to customers, and 3) residential WiFi gateway extensions.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 1

10|21|14   |   10:15   |   (0) comments


SCTE Director of Advanced Technologies Steve Harris discusses WiFi deployments, drivers, challenges and advances, including 802.11ac, carrier-grade WiFi, community WiFi, Hotspot 2.0, Passpoint, WiFi-First and voice-over-WiFi.
LRTV Custom TV
Advantech Accelerates 100G Traffic Handling

10|17|14   |   7:56   |   (0) comments


Paul Stevens from Advantech explains why handling 100GbE needs a whole new platform design approach and how Advantech is addressing the needs of equipment providers and carriers to give them the flexibility and performance they will need for SDN and NFV deployment.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Holland's Imtech Traffic & Infra Discusses Huawei's ICT Solution and Services

10|16|14   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Dimitry Theebe is from the business unit at Imtech Traffic & Infra which delivers communications solutions for transportations. His partnershp with Huawei began about a years ago. In this video, Theebe speaks more about this partnership and what he hopes to accomplish with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Comprehensive Storage Solutions Vital for SVR

10|16|14   |   6:16   |   (0) comments


SVR Information Technology provides cloud services for academic and special sectors. With Huawei's support, SVR and Yildiz Technical University has established Turkey's largest and most advanced High Performance Computing system. CSO Ismail Cem Aslan talks about what he hopes Huawei's OceanStor storage system will bring for him.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mexico's Servitron's Impression of Huawei at CCW 2014

10|16|14   |   6:35   |   (0) comments


Servitron is a network operator in Mexico that has been in the trunking industry for the past 20 years. Its COO, Ing. Ragnar Trillo O., explains at Critical Communications World 2014 that his company has been interested in the long-term evolution of LTE technology and its adoption for TETRA.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Better Dubai

10|16|14   |   2:06   |   (0) comments


Abdulla Ahmed Al Falasi is the director of commercial affairs, a telecommunications coordinator for the government of Dubai. Their areas of service span across multiple industries, including police, safety, shopping malls and more. In this video, Abdulla talks about his department's work with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Lights Up Malaysia Partner Maju Nusa

10|16|14   |   1:59   |   (0) comments


Malaysia's Maju Nusa is an enterprise partner to Huawei in networking, route switches and telco equipment. At this year's Critical Communications World in Singapore, CTO Pushpender Singh talks about what Huawei's eLTE solutions mean to his company and for Malaysia.
LRTV Custom TV
Evolving From HFC to FTTH Networks

10|15|14   |   2:19   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Todd McCrum delves into the future of cable's HFC plant, examining how DOCSIS 3.1 and advanced video compression will extend its life and how the IP video transition will usher in GPON and EPON over FTTH.
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Analysts Warn of Major NFV Gaps
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/22/2014
Is Health the Killer App for the IoT?
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 10/22/2014
Drones Hover Over the IoT Sector
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 10/23/2014
Roku Raises $25M, But for What?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/23/2014
1959 Newsreel: Make Phone Calls – From Cars!
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/24/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed