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Level 3 completes Genuity acquisition

The Daily Times-Call

BROOMFIELD — On the same day it announced the completion of its acquisition of Genuity, a bankrupt Internet infrastructure firm, Level 3 Communications announced its fourth-quarter and year-end earnings.

Level 3 and Genuity announced Tuesday that the deal had closed but said the price had fallen to $60 million in cash plus $77 million in cash prepayments to vendors for services in 2003, subject to further adjustments.

According to The Associated Press, that amount was about half of what Level 3 was originally expected to pay for Genuity, which Level 3 will continue to operate as a separate business.

Level 3’s core businesses include communications and information services, but it also has interests in coal mining and toll-road operations.

“In 2001, we announced initiatives aimed at ensuring we not only survived the unprecedented turmoil in our industry, but did so with sufficient financial strength to assure that we could take advantage of opportunities that were sure to arise,” James Crowe, Level 3’s chief executive officer, said in a conference call with investors this week. “I think this quarter provides clear evidence that we’ve accomplished that goal.”

Level 3 reported total revenue for the most recent quarter of $945 million, compared with $326 million during the same quarter the prior year. The company’s fourth-quarter net loss was $313 million, or 73 cents per share. Net loss for the fourth quarter of 2001 was $3.3 billion, or $8.54 a share.

For all of 2002, total revenue was $3.1 billion, compared with $1.5 billion for 2001. For the year, the company’s net loss was $858 million, or $2.11 per share, compared with a net loss of $4.98 billion, or $13.32 a share, for all of 2001.

“We’re moving forward, and we’re gaining traction in key areas,” Crowe said. He cited the Genuity acquisition as evidence of that, as well as a change in the makeup of Level 3’s customers.

“At the beginning of 2001, 75 percent of our customers were dot-coms and emerging carriers,” said Crowe. “Now, 75 percent of them are credit-worthy, stable, long-term partners.”

Level 3’s client list now includes America Online, AT&T, Earthlink and Microsoft.