Level 3 will pay $1.4 billion in cash and stock for data service company Broadwing, it has announced.

Broadwing sells fibre network-based services in the wholesale and large-business markets, and the acquisition will help Level 3 expand its recent focus on the large-business market, Level 3 chief exec James Crowe said. The deal will also bolster Level 3's traditional focus on the wholesale market.

Level 3 announced an expansion of its large-business units in late May. Since mid-April, the company has announced deals to acquire a number of privately held US companies including: TelCove, telecommunications company, for $1.24 billion; ICG Communications, a telecom company, for $163 million; and Looking Glass Networks, a provider of data transport services, for $165 million. Level 3 also completed an acquisition of Progress Telecom, a wholesale network services compan, in March. These acquisitions give it a broader network infrastructure in metro areas across the US, the company said.

Broadwing provides data, voice and media services over its 19,000-mile intercity fibre network, with revenue roughly split between the wholesale market and business customers.

Level 3 will pay $744 million in cash and issue about 122 million of its shares in the deal. The companies expect the deal to close in the first quarter of next year. Broadwing's stockholders, as well as state and federal government regulators, must approve the deal.