Qwest just won’t go quietly into the night…

December 23, 2010

We’ve been waiting — patiently, which isn’t something that we do very well — for Qwest (Q) to go quietly into that good night following its deal with CenturyTel (CTL) that was announced back in April. The company, which in many ways was the inspiration for footnoted and which has been the focus of more posts than any other company (including multiple entries for the worst footnote of the year) just won’t go quietly.

How else to explain this 8-K that was filed at 5 pm yesterday? Here’s a snip:

On December 21, 2010, in order to preserve economic benefits to our stockholders of approximately $120 million that would otherwise have been lost in connection with our pending merger with CenturyLink, Inc., we approved (i) the immediate accelerated vesting of restricted stock and performance shares…

But it’s worth reading the whole filing since it kind of reminds us of the justifications that we make when we’ve spent a bit too much money at the mall: we’re really saving money because everything is on sale for 50%.

We particularly liked the part where the filing mentions the mighty sacrifice made by Chairman and CEO Ed Mueller — whom, you might recall, snagged a third plane back in August — foregoing $10 million in severance that he would have been entitled to. But according to the accelerated vesting schedule, Mueller will wind up with around $55 million and the five executive officers identified in the chart will collect $129 million, which is not a bad way to kick off the holiday.

We also liked the part in the filing that noted that this sort of thing is normally subject to a shareholder vote, but that Qwest’s board decided to make an exception in this case. This may be a longshot, but we’re guessing that given the sorry history of Qwest, few investors would have approved this “savings”.

Image source: Zalubowski/AP

There’s still time to vote for Qwest (and four other companies) in our annual worst footnote of 2010 contest. Footnoted wishes all of our readers that celebrate the holiday a wonderful Christmas with their families. We will be back on Monday.

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