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Consolidated Communications to Acquire FairPoint
Published Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc, based in Illinois, said on Monday it reached a deal to buy broadband service provider FairPoint Communications in an all-stock deal valued at $1.5 billion, including debt. The agreement and the proposed merger have been unanimously approved by the boards of directors at both companies but still need shareholder and regulator approval.

Consolidated is a broadband and business communications provider in 11 U.S. states. FairPoint provides service in 17 states, including serving all or part of 237 communities in NH.

“This transaction combines two companies with extensive fiber networks and complementary strategies focusing on being the leading business and broadband solutions provider,” said Bob Udell, president and chief executive officer of Consolidated Communications. “This merger positions Consolidated to leverage its extensive product and services portfolio and consultative sales approach across 24 states bringing advanced solutions and a better experience to customers. We are well positioned to ensure a smooth transition for customers and employees as we leverage a solid track record of successful integrations.”

Under the terms of the agreement, FairPoint shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 0.730 shares of Consolidated Communications common stock for each share of FairPoint common stock.

FairPoint bought Verizon's Northern New England business in 2007 and declared bankruptcy in 2009. Its problems have stemmed from the trend for consumers to cut the landline chord as well as problems integrating Verizon technology. More recently, FairPoint had made substantial investments in broadband. (Business NH Magazine wrote an extensive article about their efforts to bring better service to NH residents in the December issue.) When FairPoint bought Verizon' s assets, only 63 percent of those residential addresses were qualified for high speed internet. FairPoint has now increased broadband availability so that 95 percent of these addresses are qualified.  

The deal with Consolidated Communications is expected to close by mid 2017.

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