Choice One Communications and CTC Communications Announce Merger of Equals
Combined Company to be one of the largest CLECs in the U.S.
Waltham, MA and Rochester, NY , February 10, 2006 — CTC Communications and Choice One Communications today announced their agreement to enter into a merger of equals, creating one of the largest competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) in the United States, and the largest privately held CLEC in the Northeast. Post merger, the combined entity is expected to generate over $550 million in annual revenues by serving over 100,000 customers by way of over 1,000,000 access line equivalents. The companies’ combined network will consist of 7,000 route miles of fiber connecting 630 collocations. The current shareholders of Choice One and CTC will each own exactly 50% of the combined firm.
Choice One, headquartered in Rochester, New York, offers various combinations of bundled voice and data services, along with web hosting, design and development in 29 markets and twelve states in the Northeast and Midwest. CTC, headquartered in Waltham, Mass., has been the fastest growing CLEC in the Northeast this past year, completing the acquisitions of Lightship Telecom in May 2005 and Connecticut Broadband in October 2005. The company has been providing carrier-class VoIP services for five years, and offers a full range of voice, Internet and data services to businesses in eleven states throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, as well as the District of Columbia. The two companies’ networks overlap in seven states from Maine to Pennsylvania.
“The combination of Choice One and CTC is a significant and exciting development. It has become clear that in order to prosper in a competitive sector we should respond to the recent mega-mergers of the dominant incumbent phone companies,” said Kenneth D. Peterson, Jr., Chairman of CTC and CEO of Columbia Ventures, sole owner of CTC. “Both companies understand the power of synergies from this combination and believe in the necessity of continuing consolidation.”
“This merger brings together two highly complementary CLECs with a shared strategic vision and strong operations in the Northeast,” said Thomas J. Casey, Chairman and CEO of Choice One. “Not only do we share a similar passion for our clients and for delivering results, but we also share a common facilities-based strategy. CTC and Choice One each have unique strengths in network, systems, product and sales. Our customers will benefit from an expanded product suite and a denser and more expansive network. Simultaneously, our investors and employees will benefit from excellent growth opportunities.”
“This merger is about leveraging greater financial strength and capabilities to the benefit of our customers,” said Ray Allieri, President and CEO of CTC. “The combination of CTC’s fiber-based IP backbone network, which overlaps with Choice One markets from New England to Pennsylvania, together with Choice One’s extensive local network presence, gives us a powerful set of complementary assets and great growth prospects. We continue to believe that a ‘high touch’ customer support approach will distinguish us in the marketplace.”
Peterson will serve as Chairman of the Board of the combined organization, which will consist of an equal number of directors appointed by the shareholders of each company. Casey will serve as CEO, while Allieri will serve as President. The merger of Choice One and CTC is subject to customary closing conditions, including a refinancing of existing bank debt and receipt of regulatory approvals. The name of the merged entity has not yet been determined. The merged company will continue to maintain a significant presence in both Rochester, NY and Waltham, MA with senior executives in each location.
The Choice One Board was advised by The Blackstone Group L.P.’s Corporate Advisory Services team, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, and Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo P.C. Choice One’s largest shareholder is an advisee of Camulos Capital. The CTC Board was advised by Columbia Ventures Corporation and Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.
About Choice One Communications
Choice One Communications is a leading provider of voice and data services, including local and long distance phone service, high-speed Internet, T1 access, web hosting, and design and development services in the Northeast and Midwest. The company’s expansive network footprint, including 490 collocation facilities, reduces their dependency on the LECs, enabling them to be highly responsive to client needs. Visit Choice One Communications online at www.choiceonecom.com.
About CTC Communications
CTC Communications is a leading integrated communications carrier providing business customers from Maine to Maryland with a full range of converged voice, data and Internet services, dynamically allocated on a next-generation, all-IP packet-based network. The company serves small, medium and larger business customers. CTC’s Cisco-powered IP+ATM packet network runs over a fully managed and CTC-owned fiber optic network. CTC has provided cost-effective communication solutions since 1981 and is today part of Columbia Ventures Corporation’s worldwide family of businesses. Visit CTC Communications online at www.ctcnet.com.
About Columbia Ventures Corporation
Columbia Ventures Corporation, the parent company of CTC Communications, based in Vancouver, Washington, is a multinational, entrepreneurial, private equity company. Other wholly owned CVC telecommunication investments include Hibernia Atlantic, a transatlantic cable system linking Boston, New York, Halifax, Dublin and London; and Magnet Networks, a Dublin company bringing triple play services via Fiber-To-The-Home and ADSL2+ to Ireland.