Lumen rumored to seek buyer for assets in 4 states

Lumen Technologies has enlisted Goldman Sachs to help it shop its network assets in four states across the Midwest and Western U.S., seeking to strike a deal for its fourth divestiture in less than two years.

Specifically, Lumen is looking to offload its assets in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, sources familiar with the matter told Fierce. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because information about the sale is confidential.

The transaction is being pitched under the name “Project Yellowstone.” Lumen is looking to sell its assets in all four states together rather than splitting them apart and is seeking to lease-back wholesale connectivity in those areas, the sources said.

There is no price attached to the pitch, one of the sources said.

Lumen declined to comment, with a representative telling Fierce it does not respond to “rumors or speculation.”

According to data from BroadbandNow, Lumen’s CenturyLink-branded assets in the four states up for sale are primarily comprised of DSL. It does have small pockets of fiber in each, though, concentrated in larger markets like Billings, Helena and Great Falls, Montana; Casper and Rock Springs, Wyoming; Rapid City and Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Bismarck and Fargo, North Dakota.

Lumen recently provided an update on its residential Quantum Fiber build plan, adding Montana and Wyoming to the list of states where it said deployments were in progress. Specifically, it said construction is underway in Bozeman, Montana and Cheyenne, Wyoming. North Dakota and South Dakota were the only two states in its 16-state footprint which did not appear on its project roster. It is unclear whether the announcement of the builds in Montana and Wyoming was related to Lumen’s efforts to strike a deal.

The company has had its hands full over the past 18 months with other divestitures, including the sale of its Latin America business for $2.7 billion and its ILEC assets in 20 states for $7.5 billion. Both of those deal closed in the back half of this year. Earlier this month, Lumen announced plans to sell its EMEA business to Colt Technology Services for $1.8 billion.

Speaking at an investor conference earlier this week, Lumen CFO Chris Stansbury said “I think we’re getting close to the point where the big chunks of assets that we feel are less strategic are being addressed with the EMEA arrangement,” adding “the big pruning has been done.”

However, he said it’s evaluating assets which sit in its so-called Harvest bucket of products to see if there are any “that we can realize good value [from] by selling. And if there are, if there’s a market for that where somebody’s willing to pay for it, then we’d be interested in selling it.” He concluded “if there’s not, then we’re going to continue to manage those assets for cash.”