02 Mar Windstream Secures Plan Support Agreement with Creditors; Reaches Settlement with Uniti Group on Master Lease
Financial Restructuring Expected to Reduce Company’s Existing Debt by More Than $4 Billion
Uniti agrees to commit up to $1.75 billion in Tenant Capital Improvement funds over 10 years, in addition to $490 million in cash and $285 million for the purchase of unused and underutilized fiber
Company Intends to Complete Financial Restructuring Process on Expedited Basis
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Windstream today announced that it has entered into a Plan Support Agreement (the “PSA”) with its first lien creditors regarding the main terms of a comprehensive financial restructuring. The company also announced it has reached a settlement agreement with Uniti Group Inc. to resolve the pending litigation between the two companies.
The PSA will provide for, among other things: (1) a substantial reduction of the company’s existing funded debt by more than $4 billion, (2) a substantial reduction of the company’s annual debt service obligations, and (3) access to exit financing to allow Windstream to pursue its strategic goals after emergence from Chapter 11.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with creditors on the terms of a comprehensive financial restructuring that will significantly reduce our debt and strengthen our long-term competitive position,” said Tony Thomas, president and chief executive officer of Windstream. “This agreement demonstrates our creditors’ confidence in our go-forward business plan and will enable Windstream to work through the financial restructuring process on an expedited basis.”
Windstream plans to file its Chapter 11 plan of reorganization, with its proposed new capital structure, with the court for approval as soon as possible with a target of by the end of March. The company expects to emerge from restructuring mid-year, subject to timing of court and regulatory approvals.
“Our new capital structure will enable continued innovation in vital enterprise-class offerings such as SD-WAN and UCaaS, promote the deployment of on-net solutions, and reinforce our ability to deliver an amazing customer experience supported by a superior digital platform,” Thomas said. “Additionally, our new strategic partnership with Uniti will allow us to expand 1 Gig fiber-based internet service to more than half of our Kinetic broadband footprint over the next several years.”
As part of the Uniti settlement agreement, Uniti has agreed to invest up to $1.75 billion in network investments for Windstream through 2030. Uniti also has agreed to pay Windstream approximately $490 million and to purchase certain unused and underutilized fiber assets from Windstream for an additional $285 million, which currently generate approximately $29 million in annual OIBDAR.
Copies of the PSA and Uniti settlement agreement may be obtained free of charge by visiting the website of Kurtzman Carson Consultants LLC at http://www.kccllc.net/windstream.
Windstream voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on Feb. 25, 2019. Windstream is continuing to operate in the normal course during the financial restructuring process.
Windstream Holdings, Inc., a FORTUNE 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications and technology solutions. Windstream provides data networking, core transport, security, unified communications and managed services to mid-market, enterprise and wholesale customers across the U.S. The company also offers broadband, entertainment and security services for consumers and small and medium-sized businesses primarily in rural areas in 18 states. Services are delivered over multiple network platforms including a nationwide IP network, our proprietary cloud core architecture and on a local and long-haul fiber network spanning approximately 150,000 miles. Additional information is available at windstream.com or windstreamenterprise.com. Please visit our newsroom at news.windstream.com or follow us on Twitter at @Windstream.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of historical facts that address activities, events or developments that we expect, believe or anticipate will or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on certain assumptions based on management’s views, estimates, beliefs as of the time these statements regarding future events and results. When used in this release, words such as “will,” “potential,” “believe,” “estimate,” “intend,” “expect,” “may,” “should,” “anticipate,” “could,” “plan,” “predict,” “strategy,” “future” or their negatives or other words that convey the uncertainty of future events or outcomes, are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain such identifying words. Forward-looking statements involve uncertainties and are subject to many risks and variables. Actual future events may differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements as a result of a number of factors related to our chapter 11 cases, which are set forth in our risk factors described in our Annual Report on Form 10-K and First Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed in 2019 available at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Although we believe our forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, no assurance can be given that these assumptions are accurate or that any of these expectations will be achieved (partially or in full) or will prove to have been correct. In light of the above, the events anticipated by our forward-looking statements may not occur, and, if any of such events do, we may not have correctly anticipated timing or the extent of their impact. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and we undertake no obligation to correct or update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law. These cautionary statements qualify all forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf.
David Avery, 501-748-5876
Chris King, 704-319-1025