comscore FCC approves sale of Hawaiian Telcom | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

FCC approves sale of Hawaiian Telcom

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    Hawaiian Telcom will merge with Ohio-based Cincinnati Bell after satisfying closing conditions.

Hawaiian Telcom on Tuesday cleared its final regulatory approval for its pending $650 million sale to Cincinnati Bell.

The Federal Communications Commission OK’d the deal in a written decision.

Ohio-based Cincinnati Bell said it now expects its acquisition will be finalized July 2 after satisfying customary closing conditions that include paying Hawaiian Telcom shareholders for their stock in the Hawaii phone, TV and internet service provider.

“We are excited that this final regulatory approval has cleared the way for us to combine these two great businesses,” Leigh Fox, Cincinnati Bell president and CEO, said in a statement. “Together, Cincinnati Bell and Hawaiian Telcom will be a stronger communications and technology company that will foster greater innovation as we build scale and fiber density across our footprint.”

Hawaiian Telcom has about 1,200 employees and serves Hawaii. Cincinnati Bell has about 3,500 employees and serves portions of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana with phone and data service.

The transaction has been in the works for about a year; the two companies announced their plan in July.

Hawaiian Telcom shareholders voted to accept the deal in November, but it was subject to several state and federal reviews.

A federal antitrust review was completed under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act in November. In December the Cable Television Division of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs gave its blessing with conditions, and the state Public Utilities Commission followed with a similar decision in April.

The FCC said in its decision, “We find, upon consideration of the record, that the proposed transfer will serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.”

The agency conditioned its approval on public commitments made by Cincinnati Bell.

Several state-imposed conditions also apply. They include maintaining Hawaiian Telcom labor agreements, keeping the local management and spending $20 million over the next four years to expand and improve Hawaiian Telcom’s network mainly by adding or upgrading serv­ice connections to 15,000 homes, including 9,000 on the neighbor islands.

Other state conditions include limiting how much debt Hawaiian Telcom can carry, contributing $5 million to an unfunded pension liability and continuing an internet service offer with connection speeds of up to 7 megabits per second for downloads and up to 1 Mbps for uploads at $9.95 per month.

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