GSA completes integration of CenturyLink, Level 3 EIS contracts

GSA cancels CenturyLink's EIS telecom contract and renames the Level 3 contract as part of effort to integrate the contracts held by the now-merged companies.

While the words are bit dramatic, the changes announced on GSA’s Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract blog this week are rather straightforward.

First, the dramatic words: the contract “is being impacted due to CenturyLink’s acquisition of Level 3.”

The word “impacted” was a bit jarring. But here is what it means: There is no longer an EIS contract in Level 3’s name. The Level 3 contract is now known as CenturyLink. And technically, the contract CenturyLink won last year has been cancelled.

There can only be one.

This makes sense. After all, CenturyLink spent $24 billion to acquire Level 3 in a deal that closed in November 2017.

That acquisition was in the works before both companies won spots on the $50 billion telecommunications services contract, so we all knew a consolidation of some sort was coming.

Within days of the deal's closing, CenturyLink executives explained how the two companies would come together and how the two EIS contracts would be merged.

Dave Young, head of CenturyLink’s federal business and a heritage Level 3 executive, told me last year that the company would go through a detailed comparison of the two contracts. “Each contract is unique,” he said then.

While both companies held the same contract, they brought different offerings to the market. Level 3 had its optical and Internet Protocol backbone services and CenturyLink with hybrid networks and cloud solutions, for example.

Both companies also approach EIS differently, with Level 3 putting together a large team prior to its bid and CenturyLink using a more opportunity-driven approach to partnering.

There are still some pending changes in the weeds of inventory data and the EIS Pricer. GSA said those changes will be announced when completed.

But otherwise, the changes announced this week likely ease the management burden a bit for GSA.

And for CenturyLink, it marks another milestone in its integration of Level 3.