Windstream announced a bold plans to spin off its fiber and copper network, along with certain other assets, into an independent, publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT). The network operations business would then lease back the physical assets to Windstream through a long-term triple-net exclusive lease with an initial estimated rent payment of $650 million per year.
The company said the separation of its physical network from its services business will enable it to become a more nimble competitor, while accelerating network investments, and maximizing shareholder value. The new REIT would be open to diversify its assets through acquisitions.
"This transaction will make Windstream a more nimble competitor in today’s increasingly dynamic communications marketplace and accelerate our deployment of advanced communications services," said Jeff Gardner, president and CEO of Windstream. "Additionally, the REIT will have geographically diverse, high-quality assets and sustainable cash flows with the ability to grow and diversify over time."
Windstream anticipates that the spinoff would occur in the first quarter of 2015.
- Earlier this month, Windstream announced the nationwide availability of its enterprise-class Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). Windstream’s UCaaS is a fully managed cloud-based solution, offered to enterprise and mid-sized businesses for a flat monthly rate. The UCaaS product suite is hosted in Windstream’s secure data centers and leverages Windstream’s high-quality MPLS with Quality of Service (QoS) for optimized performance. For its UCaaS solution, Windstream's partners include Avaya, Cisco, Mitel and ShoreTel.