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Windstream closes PAETEC deal, sheds 52 employees

Zack Seward
PAETEC CEO Arunas Chesonis announced in August that his firm was being acquired by Arkansas-based Windstream.

Arkansas-based Windstream announced Thursday it had completed its acquisition of Rochester's PAETEC.

The deal is valued at $2.3 billion - but it also means job cuts for some local employees.

Windstream says it's cutting 280 jobs nationwide, including 52 here in Rochester. That's about 5 percent of the local PAETEC workforce.

Joe Marano, Windstream's vice president of business and financial services, is in charge of the PAETEC merger. He says the acquisition will result in a "much stronger company."

"PAETEC brings us more than just a company and customers," Marano says. "It brings us a very talented workforce, that we knew we needed to maintain."

Company officials met with affected employees in Rochester Thursday. The cuts mostly come to corporate staffers, including positions in human resources, accounting and marketing, according to Marano.

The cuts will take effect over the next 120 days. Marano says approximately 900 Rochester-area workers will remain with Windstream.

The PAETEC deal is Windstream's biggest yet, according to Marano. The acquisition helps the telecommunications firm build its suite of products, by folding in voice, data networking and cloud services.

The acquisition of PAETEC by the out-of-state firm caused concern in Rochester, where PAETEC had made a handshake deal with the city to build a new headquarters downtown, at the site of the Midtown Plaza mall. State funds helped pay for the demolition of the structure to make it "shovel ready" for future development.

In November, Windstream announced it would host a smaller downtown presence, signing a 15-year lease on two floors of the former Seneca Building, with room for up to 335 workers. 

That workforce is about a third of what PAETEC had originally envisioned for its downtown headquarters.

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