Qwest Communications International Inc. founder Philip Anschutz agreed to sell 20.6 million shares of the company, completing plans to unload nearly all of his stake. He now directly owns four shares.
Anschutz, 67, will keep control of the 20.6 million shares until 2010 under a forward-sale contract. That lets him receive an upfront payment while retaining voting rights at Denver-based Qwest, the fourth-largest U.S. telephone company. The sale will generate an initial payment of $150.5 million, according to a filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Anschutz has sold about 246.9 million shares through such contracts over the last year, lessening his role at the company he started in 1988 as SP Telecom. The contracts transfer ownership of the stock in 2009 and 2010 and will go up in value if share prices rise. He stands to make $1.5 billion in upfront payments.
The nature of a forward sale "demonstrates continued confidence in the company," said Jim Monaghan, a spokesman for Anschutz Co., which manages the billionaire's investments. "We're a broad-based investment firm and are constantly evaluating positions."
Qwest spokesman Robert Toevs declined to comment.
Anschutz agreed to sell the stock for a minimum of $8.57 a share and could make as much as $10.71 a share if the stock increases in value. Separately, he sold an additional 2.74 million shares for about $24 million, according to the filing.
Shares of Qwest fell 6 cents to $8.68.