Posted by Windstream
Uniti Group Inc. and its subsidiaries and Windstream Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiaries (collectively, “Windstream”) jointly announced that the mediation overseen by the Honorable Shelley C. Chapman has culminated in an agreement in principle (the “Settlement”) to resolve any and all claims and causes of action that have been or may be asserted against Uniti by Windstream, including all litigation brought by Windstream and certain of its creditors in the context of Windstream’s bankruptcy. The Settlement is additionally supported by lenders that own more than 72% of Windstream’s outstanding first lien debt and more than one-third each of its second lien creditors and unsecured note holders, including affiliates of Elliott Management Corporation, Windstream’s largest creditor, and other members of the ad hoc first lien Windstream creditors group. The Settlement is subject to negotiation and execution of definitive documentation and certain regulatory approvals and conditions precedent, including bankruptcy court approval and Uniti’s U.S. federal income tax compliance. All litigation between Windstream and Uniti will be stayed while the parties negotiate and prepare the definitive documentation implementing the Settlement. Certain material terms of the Settlement are described below.
Kenny Gunderman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Uniti, commented, “We are pleased to have achieved a mutually beneficial outcome for both Uniti and Windstream, which has been our stated goal from the beginning. This agreement has substantial strategic value for Uniti as it immediately allows the company to expand its national fiber footprint with approximately 450,000 new fiber strand miles and 1.8 million of existing fiber strand miles that are able to be leased by Uniti to a third party. The agreement also provides further expansion in the coming years for additional fiber deployment with our commitment to invest up to $1.75 billion of capital in Uniti-owned, Windstream-leased assets. Approximately 90% of our committed capital as part of the settlement agreement will be used to acquire or build new REIT eligible fiber assets with attractive yields. We look forward to a strong working relationship with Windstream as we focus on enhancing Windstream’s competitive position and the network Windstream leases from Uniti.”
Tony Thomas, President and Chief Executive Officer of Windstream, stated, “Our agreement with Uniti will provide substantial fiber-based network investments for Windstream to significantly expand 1 Gigabit internet service for consumers, positioning the company for sustainable growth and margin expansion upon emergence from restructuring. Our goal remains to emerge from restructuring as soon as possible under the best possible terms for Windstream and all our stakeholders.”