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Level 3 thrown in the C'Link after watchdog approves $34bn gobble

While Softbank's Sprint goes limp on T-Mobile US merger

America's comms regulator has signed off on the $34bn merger deal that will see ISP CenturyLink take over internet backbone Level 3.

The telco announced Monday it had cleared the final regulatory hurdle, and convinced FCC boss Ajit Pai and co. to approve the cash and stock biz gobble.

The FCC approval follows prior go-aheads from the US Department of Justice and the California Public Utilities Commission, and makes the completion of the deal a mere formality at this point.

"The FCC's approval of CenturyLink's acquisition of Level 3 is great news and means we now have all the regulatory approvals we need to close the transaction," said John Jones, CenturyLink senior VP for public policy and government relations.

"We anticipate closing the transaction effective November 1, 2017."

The notice of approval comes nearly one year to the day after CenturyLink announced it had agreed to the deal. The companies had originally set a closing goal of Q3 2017, a window they will narrowly miss.

The merger sees Level3 shareholders paid off with both a $26.50 per share payout as well as shares in the new combined company. It will also allow CenturyLink to expand its services business into a number of new countries where Level3 operates.

While the day brought good news for CenturyLink's merger plans, things were not so rosy for SoftBank and its plans to merge Sprint with T-Mobile US.

Japan's Nikkei cites the ever-chatty "sources familiar" in reporting talks between SoftBank and Deutsche Telekom had reached an impasse as neither side is willing to give the other a controlling stake in a combined T-Mobile-Sprint telco giant that would become the third major carrier in the US and an instant threat to market leaders AT&T and Verizon.

The report claims the talks could be called off as soon as Tuesday of this week. In response, both companies took a hit in the stock market as Sprint share prices plummeting 9.3 per cent, while T-Mobile US closed out the day down 5.35 per cent. ®

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