$1.4B deal made with Atlantic Broadband
By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
BELMONT — A Quincy, Massachusetts-based communications company announced yesterday its purchase of MetroCast’s entire cable system from parent company Harron Communications in a deal valued at $1.4 billion.
Atlantic Broadband, whose parent company is Cogeco Communications, previously purchased MetroCast’s Connecticut system. Atlantic’s chief executive officer, Richard Shea, said, “After our highly successful acquisition and integration of the MetroCast Connecticut system almost two years ago, we understand first-hand the sizable residential and business growth potential that we can expect with the remaining MetroCast systems. We have a proven integration plan and a track record of successfully migrating our platforms and service offerings.”
Shea continued, “These well-maintained systems deliver attractive demographics which make them ideal for our suite of residential video, internet and telephony services as well as our business services. We look forward to welcoming MetroCast customers and employees to Atlantic Broadband.”
MetroCast spokesman Andy Walton said that, until the sale goes through, the company will continue to serve the communities where it has customers.
“No immediate changes are planned by MetroCast that will affect our customers, and the transition should be seamless for our customers,” he said.
“Cogeco Communications and Atlantic Broadband are great companies and strong operators with a long history of providing telecommunications services,” he said. “We are pleased that MetroCast’s systems will be in such good and capable hands and that Cogeco/ABB has committed to hire system employees who are working for MetroCast at time of closing.
“We’re also proud of MetroCast’s accomplishments: Cogeco/ABB are getting state-of-the-art networks and a talented team of professionals that is committed to the highest level of customer satisfaction.
“While the announcement of the acquisition was made today (Tuesday), the closing of the transaction is subject to obtaining regulatory approvals along with other customary closing conditions. This is expected to occur in early January, 2018. In the meantime, MetroCast will continue to provide our communities with advanced video, internet and phone services, backed with strong customer service and technical support.”
The sale is being financed through bank debt and an equity investment by Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec (CDPQ).
MetroCast, with local offices in Belmont, provides service to business and residential customers in New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, with about 120,000 high-speed internet, 76,000 video, and 37,000 telephony customers, according to Cogeco’s press release about the purchase.
“The acquisition of the MetroCast cable systems allows Atlantic Broadband to increase its presence in the growing and lucrative U.S. cable market,” said Cogeco CEO Louis Audet. “The MetroCast systems are a strong, strategic fit for Atlantic Broadband. With this acquisition, we are increasing our customer base in attractive markets adjacent to the ones we currently serve. Under the guidance of Atlantic Broadband’s best-in-class management team, we are in a unique position to grow our customer base, revenues, and profits.”
Atlantic Broadband is the ninth-largest cable operator in the United States, based on the number of television service customers. The acquisition will increase Atlantic Broadband’s mix of video, broadband, and telephony customers from about 602,000 to 835,000, Cogeco said.
CDPQ will contribute about $315 million for a 21 percent equity stake in Atlantic Broadband’s holding company. The balance of the purchase price and transaction costs will be financed through two banks.
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