the type of security into which the debt securities are convertible or exchangeable
the conversion or exchange price or ratio (or manner of calculation thereof)
the conversion or exchange period
provisions as to whether the conversion or exchange rights will be at the option of the debt holders, CenturyTel, or both
the events requiring an adjustment of the conversion or exchange price or ratio
any restrictions on conversion or exchange.
Redemption and Sinking Fund Provisions
A series may be redeemed, in whole or in part, upon not less than 30 days’ and not more than 60 days’ notice at the redemption prices and subject to the terms and conditions (including those relating to any sinking fund established with respect to such series) that may be set forth in a board resolution or supplemental indenture and in the prospectus supplement relating to such series (Sections 3.01 and 3.02). If less than all of the debt securities of the series are to be redeemed, the applicable trustee shall select the debt securities of such series, or portions thereof, to be redeemed by lot or by any other method such trustee shall deem appropriate and fair (Section 3.02).
Replacement of Securities
We will replace any debt security that becomes mutilated, destroyed, lost or stolen at the expense of the holder. The holder should deliver the debt security or satisfactory evidence of the destruction, loss or theft thereof to us and the applicable trustee. An indemnity satisfactory to us and such trustee may be required before a replacement security will be issued (Section 2.07).
Events of Default
Unless we state otherwise in the applicable prospectus supplement, the terms and conditions set forth under this heading will govern defaults under the applicable indenture. The indentures provide that an Event of Default means that one or more of the following events has occurred and is continuing with respect to debt securities of a particular series:
failure for 30 business days to pay interest on the debt securities of that series when due
failure to pay principal of (or premium, if any, on) the debt securities of that series when due (whether at maturity, upon redemption, by declaration or otherwise) or to make any sinking or analogous fund payment with respect to that series unless caused solely by a wire transfer malfunction or similar problem outside our control
failure to observe or perform any other covenant of that series for 60 days after written notice with respect thereto
certain events relating to bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization (Section 6.01).
No Event of Default with respect to the debt securities of a particular series necessarily constitutes an Event of Default with respect to the debt securities of any other series issued under the applicable indenture.
If an Event of Default shall occur and be continuing with respect to any series and if it is known to the applicable trustee, such trustee is required to mail to each holder of that series a notice of the Event of Default within 90 days of such default (Section 6.07).
Upon an Event of Default with respect to any series, the applicable trustee or the holders of not less than 25% in aggregate outstanding principal amount of that series, by notice in writing to us (and to such trustee if given by such holders), may declare the principal of all debt securities of that series due and payable immediately, but the holders of a majority in aggregate outstanding principal amount of such series may rescind such declaration and waive the default if the default has been cured and a sum sufficient to pay all matured installments of interest and principal (and premium, if any) has been deposited with such trustee before any judgment or decree for such payment has been obtained or entered (Section 6.01).
Holders of debt securities may not enforce the applicable indenture except as provided therein. Subject to the provisions of the applicable indenture relating to the duties of the applicable trustee, if an Event of Default occurs and is continuing such trustee will be under no obligation to exercise any of the rights or powers under the applicable indenture at the request or direction of any holders of the affected series, unless, among other things, the holders shall have offered such trustee indemnity reasonably satisfactory to it. Subject to the indemnification provisions and certain limitations contained in the applicable indenture, the holders of a majority in aggregate principal amount of the debt securities of such series then outstanding will have the right to direct the time, method and place of conducting any proceeding for any remedy available to the applicable trustee or exercising any trust or power conferred on such trustee with respect to such series. The holders of a majority in aggregate principal amount of the then outstanding debt securities of any series affected by a default may, in certain cases, waive such default except a default in payment of principal of, or any premium, if any, or interest on, the debt securities of that series or a call for redemption of the debt securities of that series (Sections 6.04 and 6.06).
We will be required to furnish to the trustees annually a statement regarding our performance of certain of our obligations under the indentures (Section 5.03).
Discharge and Defeasance
Unless the prospectus supplement states otherwise, we may discharge our obligations with respect to any series of our debt securities, subject to certain exceptions, if at any time:
we deliver to the applicable trustee for cancellation all outstanding debt securities of that series and for which payment in monies or U.S. Government Obligations has been deposited in trust by us, or
all outstanding debt securities of that series not previously delivered to the applicable trustee for cancellation by us shall have become due and payable or are to become due and payable or called for redemption within one year and we have deposited with such trustee the entire amount in moneys or U.S. Government Obligations sufficient, without reinvestment, to pay at maturity or upon redemption the outstanding debt securities, including principal (and premium, if any) and interest due or to become due to the date of maturity or redemption, and if we shall also pay or cause to be paid all other sums payable thereunder with respect to that series (Section 11.01).
Additionally, each indenture provides that we may discharge all of our obligations under the indenture with respect to any series, subject to certain exceptions, if at any time all outstanding debt securities of that series not previously delivered to the applicable trustee for cancellation by us or that have not become due and payable as described above shall have been paid by us by depositing irrevocably with such trustee moneys or U.S. Government Obligations sufficient to pay at maturity or upon redemption the outstanding debt securities, including principal (and premium, if any) and interest due or to become due to the date of maturity or redemption, and if we shall also pay all other sums payable thereunder with respect to that series (Section 11.02).
Merger and Consolidation
Nothing in the indentures or any of the debt securities prevents us from consolidating or merging with or into, or selling or otherwise disposing of all or substantially all of our assets to, another corporation, provided that (1) we agree to obtain a supplemental indenture pursuant to which the surviving entity or transferee agrees to assume our obligations under all outstanding debt securities issued under the applicable indenture and (2) the surviving entity or transferee is organized under the laws of the United States, any state thereof or the District of Columbia (Section 10.01).
Subordinated Debt Securities
In general, our subordinated debt securities will be subordinate in right of payment to the prior payment in full of all of our senior debt (Section 14.01 of the subordinated indenture). In general, this means that in the event we become subject to any insolvency, bankruptcy, receivership, liquidation, reorganization or similar proceeding or we liquidate, dissolve or otherwise wind up our affairs, then the holders of any debt senior to our subordinated debt securities will be entitled to be paid in full, before the holders of any subordinated debt securities are paid. In addition, (a) if we default in the payment of any debt that is senior to our subordinated debt securities or if any event of default shall have occurred and be continuing permitting the holders of such senior indebtedness to accelerate payment of such senior indebtedness, then, so long as any such default continues, we cannot make any payment on our subordinated debt securities, and (b) if any series of subordinated debt securities is declared due and payable before its stated maturity date, then no payment on our subordinated debt securities can be made unless the holders of all debt senior to the subordinated debt securities are paid in full.
A prospectus supplement relating to a particular series of subordinated debt securities will summarize the subordination provisions applicable to that series, including:
the applicability and effect of such provisions upon any payment or distribution of our assets to creditors upon any liquidation, bankruptcy, insolvency or similar proceedings
the applicability and effect of such provisions in the event of specified defaults with respect to senior debt, including the circumstances under which and the period in which we will be prohibited from making payments on subordinated debt securities
the definition of senior debt applicable to that series of subordinated debt securities
the aggregate amount of outstanding indebtedness as of the most recent practicable date that would rank senior to, and on parity with, that series of subordinated debt securities.
The particular terms of subordination of a series of subordinated debt securities may supercede the general subordination provisions of the subordinated indenture. There are no restrictions in the subordinated indenture on the creation of additional senior debt securities or any other indebtedness.
The failure to make any required payment on any of the subordinated debt securities due to the subordination provisions of such securities and the Subordinated Indenture will not prevent the occurrence of an Event of Default under the subordinated debt securities.
Modification of Indentures
Each indenture contains provisions permitting us, when authorized by a board resolution, and the applicable trustee, with the consent of the holders of not less than a majority in aggregate principal amount of the debt securities of any series at the time outstanding and affected by such modification, to modify the indenture or any supplemental indenture affecting that series. However, no such modification may:
extend the fixed maturity of any debt securities of any series, reduce the principal amount thereof, reduce the rate or extend the time of payment of interest thereon or reduce any premium payable upon the redemption thereof, without the consent of the holder of each debt security so affected, or
reduce the aforesaid percentage of debt securities, the holders of which are required to consent to any such supplemental indenture, without the consent of the holder of each debt security then outstanding and affected thereby (Section 9.02).
CenturyTel and the applicable trustee may execute, without the consent of any holder of debt securities, a supplemental indenture for certain other usual purposes, including the following:
creating a new series
evidencing the assumption by any successor to CenturyTel of our obligations under an indenture
adding covenants to an indenture for the protection of the holders of debt securities
curing any ambiguity or inconsistency in an Indenture, or making other provisions as shall not adversely affect the interests of the holders of the debt securities of any series
changing or eliminating any provisions of an indenture provided that there is no outstanding debt security of any series created prior to such change that benefits therefrom (Sections 2.01, 9.01 and 10.01).
In addition, we may not modify or amend the subordination provisions of the Subordinated Indenture if doing so would adversely affect the rights under Article XIV of the Subordinated Indenture of the holders of senior indebtedness without the consent of the requisite holders of senior indebtedness required under the terms of such senior indebtedness. (Section 9.02 of the subordinated indenture.)
Limitations on Liens
The indentures provide that CenturyTel will not, while any of the debt securities remain outstanding, create or suffer to exist any mortgage, lien, pledge, security interest or other encumbrance (which we collectively refer to below as liens) upon our property, whether now owned or hereafter acquired, unless we shall secure the debt securities then outstanding by such lien equally and ratably with all obligations and indebtedness thereby secured so long as such obligations and indebtedness remain so secured. Notwithstanding the foregoing, neither Indenture will restrict us from creating or suffering to exist various types of liens permitted in the indentures, including the following:
liens upon property hereafter acquired by us or liens on such property at the time of the acquisition thereof, or conditional sales agreements or title retention agreements with respect to any such property
liens on the stock of a corporation that, when such liens arise, concurrently becomes our subsidiary, or liens on all or substantially all of the assets of a corporation arising in connection with our purchase thereof
liens for taxes and similar levies, deposits to secure performance or obligations under certain specified circumstances and laws, mechanics’ liens and similar liens arising in the ordinary course of business, liens created by or resulting from legal proceedings being contested in good faith, certain specified zoning restrictions and other restrictions on the use of real property, interests of lessors in property subject to any capitalized lease, and certain other similar liens generally arising in the ordinary course of business
liens existing on the date of an indenture
liens that replace, extend or renew any lien otherwise permitted under an indenture (Sections 4.05 and 4.06).
The restrictions in the indentures described above would not protect the debt holders in the event of a highly leveraged transaction in which unsecured indebtedness was incurred or in which the liens arising in connection therewith were freely permitted under an indenture, nor would it afford protection in the event of one or more highly leveraged transactions in which secured indebtedness was incurred by our subsidiaries. In the event of one or more highly leveraged transactions in which we incurred secured indebtedness, however, these provisions would require the debt securities to be secured equally and ratably with such indebtedness, subject to the exceptions described above.
Concerning the Trustees
The trustees, prior to the occurrence of an Event of Default, undertake to perform only such duties as are specifically set forth in the applicable indenture and, after the occurrence of an Event of Default, shall exercise the same degree of care as a prudent person would exercise in the conduct of such person’s own affairs (Section 7.01). Subject to such provision, the trustees are not required to exercise any of the rights or powers vested in them by the applicable indenture at the request, order or direction of any debt holders, unless offered reasonable security or indemnity by such holders against the costs, expenses and liabilities which might be incurred thereby (Section 7.02). A trustee is not required to expend or risk its own funds or incur personal financial liability in the performance of its duties if such trustee reasonably believes that repayment of such funds or liability or adequate indemnity is not reasonably assured to it (Section 7.01). We will pay the trustees reasonable compensation and reimburse them for reasonable expenses incurred in accordance with the applicable Indenture (Section 7.06).
A trustee may resign with respect to one or more series and a successor trustee may be appointed to act with respect to such series (Section 7.10).
Regions Bank is trustee under the senior indenture relating to our Series D, G, H, L, M, N and O senior debt securities. Regions Bank also provides revolving credit and other traditional banking services to CenturyTel.
We may elect to offer fractional shares of preferred stock rather than full shares of preferred stock. If so, we will issue to the public receipts for depositary shares, each of which will represent a fraction of a share of a particular series of our preferred stock, and the shares of our preferred stock underlying the depositary shares will be deposited under a deposit agreement between us and a bank or trust company selected by us.
The following description of the material terms of depositary shares, and all related deposit agreements and depositary receipts, is only a summary and is not intended to be complete. You should refer to the forms of the deposit agreement and depositary receipts that we will file with the SEC in connection with any offering of specific depositary shares. The specific terms of any series of depositary shares will be described in a prospectus supplement.
The depositary selected by us will have its principal office in the United States and a combined capital and surplus of at least $50,000,000. Subject to the terms of the deposit agreement, each owner of a depositary share will be entitled, in proportion to the applicable fraction of a share of preferred stock underlying the depositary share, to all the rights and preferences of the preferred stock underlying that depositary share. Those rights may include dividend, voting, redemption, conversion, exchange and liquidation rights.
The depositary shares will be evidenced by depositary receipts issued under the relevant deposit agreement to those persons purchasing the fractional shares of our preferred stock. Pending the preparation of definitive depositary receipts, the depositary may, upon our order, issue temporary depositary receipts substantially identical to the definitive depositary receipts but not in definitive form. These temporary depositary receipts will entitle their holders to all the rights of definitive depositary receipts. Temporary depositary receipts will then be exchangeable for definitive depositary receipts at our expense.
Dividends and Other Distributions
The depositary will distribute all cash dividends or other cash distributions received with respect to the underlying preferred stock to the record holders of depositary shares in proportion to the number of depositary shares owned by those holders.
If there is a distribution other than in cash, the depositary will distribute property to the record holders of depositary shares that are entitled to receive the distribution, unless the depositary determines that it is not feasible to make the distribution. If this occurs, the depositary may, with our approval, adopt an equitable and practicable method for making that distribution, including any sale of the property and distribution of the net sales proceeds to the applicable holders.
Each deposit agreement may also contain provisions relating to the manner in which any subscription or similar rights we offer to preferred stockholders of the relevant series will be made available to holders of depositary shares.
Withdrawal of Underlying Preferred Stock
Unless we state otherwise in a prospectus supplement, holders may surrender depositary receipts at the principal office of the depositary and, upon payment of any unpaid amount due to the depositary, be entitled to receive the number of whole shares of underlying preferred stock and all cash payments or other rights accrued under or represented by the related depositary shares (but such holders will not afterward be entitled to receive depositary shares in exchange for their whole shares). We will not issue any partial shares of preferred stock. If the holder delivers depositary receipts evidencing a number of depositary shares that represent more than a whole number of shares of preferred stock, the depositary will issue a new depositary receipt evidencing the excess number of depositary shares to that holder.
Redemption of Depositary Shares
If a series of preferred stock represented by depositary shares is subject to redemption, the depositary shares will be redeemed from the proceeds received by the depositary resulting from the redemption, in whole or in part, of that series of underlying stock held by the depositary. The redemption price per depositary share will be equal to the applicable fraction of the redemption price per share payable with respect to that series of underlying stock. Whenever we redeem shares of underlying stock that are held by the depositary, the depositary will redeem, as of the same redemption date, the number of depositary shares representing the shares of underlying stock so redeemed. If fewer than all the depositary shares are to be redeemed, the depositary shares to be redeemed will be selected by lot or proportionately or other equitable method, as may be determined by the depositary.
Upon receipt of notice of any meeting at which the holders of the underlying preferred stock are entitled to vote, the depositary will mail the information contained in the notice to the record holders of the depositary shares underlying the preferred stock. Each record holder of the depositary shares on the record date (which will be the same date as the record date for the underlying stock) will be entitled to instruct the depositary as to the exercise of the voting rights pertaining to the amount of the underlying stock represented by that holder’s depositary shares. The depositary will then attempt, as far as practicable, to vote the number of shares of preferred stock underlying those depositary shares in accordance with those instructions, and we will endeavor to take all actions which we deem necessary to enable the depositary to do so. Unless otherwise provided in a prospectus supplement, the depositary will not vote the underlying shares to the extent it does not receive specific instructions with respect to the depositary shares representing the preferred stock.
Conversion or Exchange of Preferred Stock
If the deposited preferred stock is convertible into or exchangeable for other securities, the depositary shares, as such, will not be convertible into or exchangeable for such other securities. Rather, any holder of the depositary shares may surrender the related depositary receipts, together with any amounts payable by the holder in connection with the conversion or the exchange, to the depositary with written instructions to cause conversion or exchange of the preferred stock represented by the depositary shares into or for such other securities. If only some of the depositary shares are to be converted or exchanged, a new depositary receipt or receipts will be issued for any depositary shares not converted or exchanged.
Amendment and Termination of the Deposit Agreement
The form of depositary receipt evidencing the depositary shares and any provision of the deposit agreement may at any time be amended by agreement between us and the depositary. However, any amendment that materially and adversely changes the rights of the holders of depositary shares will not be effective unless the amendment has been approved by the holders of at least a majority of the depositary shares then outstanding. The deposit agreement may be terminated by us upon not less than 60 days’ notice, whereupon the depositary shall deliver or make available to each holder of depositary shares, upon surrender of the depositary receipts held by such holder, the number of whole or fractional shares of preferred stock represented by such receipts. The deposit agreement will automatically terminate if, among other circumstances, all outstanding depositary shares have been redeemed or converted into or exchanged for any other securities into or for which the underlying preferred stock is convertible or exchangeable.
Charges of Depositary
We will pay all transfer and other taxes and governmental charges arising solely from the existence of the depositary arrangements. We will also pay charges of the depositary in connection with its duties under the deposit agreement. Holders of depositary receipts will pay other transfer and other taxes and governmental charges and those other charges, including a fee for any permitted withdrawal of shares of underlying stock upon surrender of depositary receipts, as are expressly provided in the deposit agreement to be for their accounts.
The depositary will be obligated to forward to holders of depositary receipts all reports and communications from us that we deliver to the depositary and that we are required to furnish to the holders of the underlying preferred stock.
Limitation on Liability
Neither the depositary nor we will be liable if either of us is prevented or delayed by law or any circumstance beyond our control in performing our respective obligations under the deposit agreement. Our obligations and those of the depositary will be limited to performance in good faith of our respective duties under the deposit agreement. Neither the depositary nor we will be obligated to prosecute or defend any legal proceeding in respect of any depositary shares or underlying stock unless satisfactory indemnity is furnished. We and the depositary may rely upon written advice of counsel or accountants, or upon information provided by persons presenting underlying stock for deposit, holders of depositary receipts or other persons believed to be competent and on documents believed to be genuine.
In the event the depositary receives conflicting claims, requests or instructions from any holders of depositary shares, on the one hand, and us, on the other, the depositary will be permitted to act on our claims, requests or instructions.
Resignation and Removal of Depositary
The depositary may resign at any time by delivering notice to us of its election to resign. We may remove the depositary at any time. Any resignation or removal will take effect upon the appointment of a successor depositary and its acceptance of the appointment. The successor depositary must be a bank or trust company having its principal office in the United States and having a combined capital and surplus of at least $50,000,000.
We, each depositary and any of their agents may treat the registered owner of any depositary share as the absolute owner of that share, whether or not any payment for that depositary share is overdue and despite any notice to the contrary, for any purpose.
We may issue warrants for the purchase of debt securities, preferred stock, depositary shares, common stock, or any combination thereof. Warrants may be issued independently or together with other securities and may be attached to or separate from any offered securities. Each series of warrants will be issued under a separate warrant agreement to be entered into between us and a bank or trust company, as warrant agent. The warrant agent will act solely as our agent in connection with the warrants and will not assume any obligation or relationship of agency or trust for or with any holders or beneficial owners of warrants.
This summary of certain provisions of the warrants is not complete. For the complete terms of the warrants and the warrant agreement, you should refer to the provisions of the warrant agreement that we will file with the SEC in connection with the offering of such warrants.
The prospectus supplement relating to any particular issue of warrants will describe the terms of the warrants, including the following:
the title and aggregate number of warrants
the offering price for the warrants, if any
the designation and terms of the securities that may be purchased upon exercise of the warrants
if applicable, the designation and terms of the securities with which the warrants are issued and the number of warrants issued with each other security
if applicable, the date on and after which the warrants and the related other securities issued therewith will be separately transferable
the number or amount of securities that may be purchased upon exercise of a warrant and the price at which the securities may be purchased upon exercise, which may be payable in cash, securities or other property
the dates on which the right to exercise the warrants begins and expires
if applicable, the minimum or maximum amount of warrants that may be exercised at any one time
whether the warrants and the securities that may be issued thereunder will be issued in registered or bearer form
information with respect to book-entry procedures, if any
a discussion of any material United States federal income tax considerations
the anti-dilution provisions of the warrants, if any
any applicable redemption or call provisions applicable to the warrants
any other terms of the warrants, including terms, procedures and limitations relating to the exchange and exercise of the warrants.
Before their exercise, warrants will not entitle their holders to any rights of the holders of the securities purchasable thereunder.
We and the warrant agent may amend or supplement the warrant agreement for a series of warrants without the consent of the holders of the warrants issued thereunder to effect charges that are not inconsistent with the provisions of the warrants and that do not materially and adversely affect the interests of the holders of the warrants.
The terms and conditions described under “Description of Capital Stock,” “Description of Debt Securities,” “Description of Depositary Shares,” and “Description of Warrants” will apply to each unit and to any debt security, preferred stock, common stock, depositary share or warrant included in each unit, respectively, unless otherwise specified in the applicable prospectus supplement.
We may sell securities directly to one or more purchasers or to or through underwriters, dealers or agents or through a combination of any such methods of sale. The applicable prospectus supplement will set forth the terms of the offering, including the name or names of any underwriters, the purchase price and proceeds from such sale, any underwriting discounts and other items constituting underwriters’ compensation, the initial public offering price and any discounts or concessions allowed, reallowed or paid to dealers, any securities exchanges on which the securities may be listed, and any other information we think is important.
We may distribute securities from time to time in one or more transactions at fixed or variable prices, at prices equal or related to prevailing market prices or at negotiated prices. We also may directly offer and sell securities in exchange for, among other things, our outstanding debt or equity securities.
If underwriters are used in the sale, the underwriters will acquire the securities for their own account. The underwriters may resell the securities periodically in one or more transactions, including negotiated transactions, at a fixed public offering price or at varying prices determined at the time of sale. Securities may be offered to the public through underwriting syndicates represented by one or more managing underwriters or directly by one or more underwriters without a syndicate. Unless otherwise set forth in the prospectus supplement, the obligations of the underwriters to purchase securities will be subject to certain conditions precedent, and the underwriters will be obligated to purchase all securities offered if any are purchased. Any initial public offering price and any discounts or concessions allowed, reallowed or paid to dealers may be changed from time to time. We may grant underwriters who participate in the distribution of securities an option to purchase additional securities to cover any over-allotments in connection with the distribution.
If a dealer is used in an offering of securities, we may sell the securities to the dealer, as principal. The dealer may then resell the securities to the public at varying prices to be determined by the dealer at the time of sale.
We may offer our equity securities into an existing trading market through agents designated by us from time to time on the terms described in the applicable prospectus supplement. Underwriters, dealers and agents who may participate in any at-the-market offerings will be described in the prospectus supplement relating thereto. Any agent involved in the offer or sale of the securities for which this prospectus is delivered will be named, and any commissions payable by us to that agent will be set forth, in the prospectus supplement. Unless indicated in the prospectus supplement, the agents will have agreed to use their reasonable best efforts to solicit purchases for the period of their appointment.
In connection with the sale of any securities, underwriters or agents may be deemed to have received compensation from us in the form of underwriting discounts or commissions and may also receive commissions from purchasers of such securities for whom they may act as agents. Underwriters may sell any securities to or through dealers. These dealers may receive compensation in the form of discounts, concessions or commissions from the underwriters or commissions from the purchasers for whom they may act as agent, or both.
Dealers and agents named in a prospectus supplement may be deemed to be underwriters of the securities within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933. Underwriters, dealers and agents may be entitled under agreements entered into with us to indemnification by us against certain civil liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act, or to contribution with respect to payments that the underwriters, dealers or agents may be required to make. Underwriters, dealers and agents may be customers of, engage in transactions with, or perform services for us in the ordinary course of business.
Under certain circumstances, we may repurchase offered securities and reoffer them to the public as set forth above. We may also arrange for repurchase and resale of such offered securities by dealers.
If so indicated in the prospectus supplement, we may authorize underwriters, dealers or agents to solicit offers by certain specified institutions to purchase securities pursuant to delayed delivery contracts providing for payment and delivery on a specified date in the future. There may be limitations on the minimum amount that may be purchased by an institution or on the portion of the aggregate principal amount of the particular securities that may be sold pursuant to these arrangements. The obligations of any purchaser under a delayed delivery contract will not be subject to any conditions except that any related sale of offered securities to underwriters shall have occurred and the purchase by an institution of the securities covered by its delayed delivery contract shall not at the time of delivery be prohibited under the laws of any jurisdiction in the United States to which that institution is subject.
In order to facilitate any offering of securities hereunder, any underwriters, dealers or agents, as the case may be, involved in the offering of such securities may engage in transactions that stabilize, maintain or otherwise affect the price of such securities or any other securities the prices of which may be used to determine payments on or otherwise fix rights accruing under such securities. Specifically, the underwriters, dealers or agents, as the case may be, may overallot in connection with the offering, creating a short position in such securities for their own account. In addition, to cover overallotments or to stabilize the price of such securities or any such other securities, the underwriters, dealers or agents, as the case may be, may bid for, and purchase, such securities or any such other securities in the open market. Finally, in any offering of such securities through a syndicate of underwriters, the underwriting syndicate may reclaim selling concessions allotted to an underwriter or a dealer for distributing such securities in the offering if the syndicate repurchases previously distributed securities in transactions to cover syndicate short positions, in a stabilization transaction or otherwise. Any of these activities may stabilize or maintain the market price of the securities above independent market levels. The underwriters, dealers or agents, as the case may be, are not required to engage in these activities, and may end any of these activities at any time.
Except for our common stock, none of the securities when first issued will have an established trading market. Any underwriters, dealers or agents to or through whom the securities are sold for public offering may make a market in the securities. However, generally they will not be obligated to make a market and may discontinue any market making at any time without notice. If the securities are traded after their initial issuance, they may trade at a discount from their initial public offering price, depending on general market conditions, the market for similar securities, our performance and other factors. Other than with respect to our common stock, which is currently traded on the New York Stock Exchange, there can be no assurance that an active public market for the securities will develop or be maintained.
The validity of the offered securities will be passed upon by Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrère & Denègre, L.L.P., New Orleans, Louisiana. If legal matters in connection with offerings made by this prospectus are passed on by other counsel for us or by counsel for the underwriters of an offering of the securities, that counsel will be named in the applicable prospectus supplement.
The consolidated financial statements and the related financial statement schedule of CenturyTel as of December 31, 2007 and 2006 and for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2007 and management’s assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2007 have been incorporated into this document by reference to CenturyTel’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007 in reliance upon the reports of KPMG LLP, independent registered public accounting firm, which are incorporated herein by reference, and upon the authority of said firm as experts in accounting and auditing. The audit report covering the December 31, 2007 consolidated financial statements contains an explanatory paragraph regarding the change in the method of accounting for uncertain tax positions in 2007 and share-based payments and pension and postretirement benefits in 2006.