The Week's Top 7 Stories: A Bankpruptcy Extravaganza

There's no rest for the weary.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

April 19, 2019

4 Min Read
Weekly Calendar with Notes

Sometimes news dies down after a show, and sometimes the opposite happens.

After more than 275 companies sponsored or exhibited at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo last week, with many of them announcing new products and hires, we newsfolk might have expected a more leisurely stroll through the rest of April. Boy were we wrong.

Resident news hound Edward Gately was a busy man this week, as layoffs, lawsuits and – you guessed it – more bankruptcy news hit the fan. CenturyLink, Fusion and, of course Windstream, all made the wire. We’ve compiled some of his stories, as well as some pieces that recap our recent show, in our latest Top 7 report.

7. CenturyLink Cut Thousands of Workers Amid ‘Transformation’ in 2018

A comparison of CenturyLink’s last two annual SEC reports shows that there are about 7,000 fewer employees at the company after its acquisition of Level 3 Communications.

The company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings went from 52,000 in 2017 to 45,000 in 2018.

The staff cuts occurred while the corporation was embarking on a “transformation from telecom to technology leader.”

The reduction percentage exceeded that of AT&T and Verizon, according to Light Reading. Read about the layoffs.

6. Windstream Gets TRO Against Charter for Bankruptcy Ad Campaign

A judge halted Charter from running advertisements that tartgeted Windstream’s bankruptcy.

According to Windstream, Charter’s commercials inferred that Windstream would stop serving customers following its chapter 11 announcement. The ads targeted customers in six Midwestern and southern states.

Learn more about the dispute.

5. Windstream, Other Bankruptcies Have Partners Talking

We covered reactions to the bankruptcy rumors that have hit the channel like wildfire.

Expo hall attendees at last week’s conference gave us their opinions about three bankruptcy stories. Windstream has already filed for it, Sungard Availability Services is moving in that direction and Fusion Connect is weighing its options.

Partners were quite candid in their responses, giving a mixture of concern, confidence and disdain.

Catch up on all the buzz from the expo hall.

4. Fusion Connect Sued by Investors While Considering Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

“Materially false and misleading at all relevant times” is the charge of a class-action lawsuit against Fusion Connect.

The cloud communications provider will potentially go into chapter 11 bankruptcy in the upcoming months, but that isn’t the gripe. Investors are suing the company for not disclosing “overstated” quarterly earnings. Fusion filed its annual report late and failed to pay back $7 million in loans.

And our story noted that there are at least two other lawsuits on the table.

Read more.

3. The 2019 Channel Partners Expo Hall Featuring AT&T, RingCentral, Nextiva

Craig Galbraith delivered his ever-popular expo hall gallery, which is always a sure bet to draw your eye.

Our show floor was open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week, and partners and vendors wasted no time putting it to good use. An AT&T executive remarked that channel partners are more serious than ever about adopting new technologies. You can bet that means they were meeting with new vendors at every chance.

Take a look at Galbraith’s magnum opus.

2. AT&T Revamps All 3 Programs, Debuts New Channel Chief

I got the chance to meet AT&T Partner Solutions’ new channel chief last week.

Stacey Marx was on hand in Vegas to answer questions about how the telco’s partner organization will be changing …

… with her appointment. The answer was an emphatic “no.” She plans to continue the work of Zee Hussain, whose departure, we learn, was something he expected when he first took the position. However, he said it was bittersweet that rapid growth of the program led him to enter the next phase of his career more quickly than he thought.

Check out the story, which includes comments from Marx, Hussain and new Partner Exchange leader Sara Straley.

1. Windstream to Cut Partners, Increase Commissions During Bankruptcy

Now that’s quite the headline. It’s good news for a select few partners, and quite bad for others.

The company, in the midst of aforementioned bankprutcy proceedings, said that it will reduce its partner base by 15 percent.

In the meantime, the partners that sell “strategic products” will earn increased commissions. SD-WAN and UCaaS come to mind as key strategic products for the CLEC.

Curt Allen, Windstream Enterprise’s president of strategic channels, fielded questions from Edward Gately about the bankruptcy and what partners should expect.

Check out the Q&A.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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