January 16, 2018

FairPoint rebranding in the works as new owner upgrades service

Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc., the Mattoon, Illinois-based company that bought FairPoint Communications last summer in an all-stock transaction valued at $1.3 billion, plans to discard the old name and upgrade service to northern New England customers.

"It's a new chapter for us. It's a rededication to our customers," Rob Koester, vice president for consumer products, told the Associated Press.

"We are encouraged to see the FairPoint integration is progressing as planned, and continue to view the deal positively long-term however the story will take time to fully play out," Jonathan Carbonneau, an analyst at New York-based Cowen Group, wrote to the BDN.

Consolidated finalized the $1.3 billion purchase of FairPoint in an all-stock acquisition including debt last July. The purchase more than doubled Consolidated's fiber-optic cable network and made Consolidated the ninth-largest fiber-optic network operator in the country.

In gaining the unanimous approval of the Maine Public Utilities Commission in June, Consolidated agreed to spend over the next three years $17.4 million annually on facilities and infrastructure in Maine to build out FairPoint's broadband networks and upgrade speeds.

Consolidated also planned to expand its cloud services product suite to FairPoint markets and stated the merger "provides a meaningful increase in scale to address the ever-changing competitive landscape."

The transaction was expected to generate annual run rate cost savings of approximately $55 million, which are expected to be achieved within two years after completion of the merger.


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