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What: Shares of TW Telecom (UNKNOWN:TWTC.DL) rose more than 11% Monday morning after Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT) announced an agreement to acquire the company. Shares of Level 3 fell around 5% on the news.
So what: Per the terms of the agreement, TW Telecom shareholders will receive $10 in cash and 0.7 shares of Level 3 for each share of TW Telecom owned at closing. Based on Friday's close, that values TW Telecom at $40.86 per share, or just over $5.63 billion.
Now what: Noting the two companies' "directly aligned" business models and growth initiatives, Level 3 CEO Jeff Storey added, "The benefits created by this transaction deliver substantial value to both companies' stockholders, as it accelerates our objective of driving profitable growth and strengthening free cash flow per share growth over the long term."
TW Telecom doesn't exactly look cheap trading around 62 times next year's expected earnings. But Level 3 CFO Sunit Patel elaborated it's still attractive from a financial perspective as it will not only naturally deleverage the combined companies' balance sheet, but also be accretive to free cash flow after the first year. To be sure, TW Telecom investors might have wanted a higher premium for their company. But if Level 3 can pull this off with its own shares currently trading at a much more manageable 22.6 times next year's estimated earnings and 1.6 times trailing 12-month sales, I think the deal could be good for investors on both sides.
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