Lerman Senter Team Successfully Obtains FCC Ruling Allowing Windstream to Increase Foreign Ownership Above 50%

Lerman Senter attorneys Meredith Senter, Jr., Jeff Carlisle, and David Keir, representing Windstream Holding II, LLC, obtained an FCC declaratory ruling approving a level of foreign ownership in the company substantially exceeding 25%.

In 2020, Windstream emerged from bankruptcy under a restructuring plan that would allow its bondholders to acquire equity interests in the company. This resulted in Windstream having a projected foreign equity interest of 66.29%, which exceeds the statutory 25% foreign ownership threshold for common carrier wireless licensees.

Lerman Senter worked with Windstream to disclose over 200 individuals, investment funds, and partnerships that would be deemed under the FCC’s rules to exercise voting power at Windstream, due to its organization as a limited liability company, and worked with FCC staff to resolve their questions about the structure and the investors.

In connection with this proceeding, the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector (informally known as Team Telecom) conducted a national security screening. The Lerman Senter team negotiated the resulting Letter of Assurance with the Committee, which facilitated final action on the declaratory ruling.

Windstream operates incumbent local exchange services in 18 states, and competitive services in all 50 states and Washington, DC. Its consumer and small business customer segments include 1.6 million residential and small business subscribers.