Frontier Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: FTR) today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its operations and all associated assets in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana to WaveDivision Capital, LLC (WDC) in partnership with Searchlight Capital Partners, LLC (Searchlight) for $1.352 billion in cash subject to certain closing adjustments.
Frontier’s operations in these states serve more than 350,000 residential and commercial customers as of March 31, 2019 and account for $619 million of revenue, $46 million of net income and $272 million of Adjusted EBITDA1 for the twelve months ending March 31, 2019. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, with closing anticipated to occur within one year.
“The sale of these properties reduces Frontier’s debt and strengthens liquidity,” said Dan McCarthy, Frontier President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are pleased to have a buyer with extensive experience building and operating advanced fiber-based communications assets in these regions. We will be working very closely with the new owners to ensure a smooth, successful transition for our customers and the communities we serve.”
WDC, headed by broadband entrepreneur Steve Weed, is based in Kirkland, Washington, and brings extensive technical, organizational, and management experience in building and operating residential and business next-generation fiber networks.
“We are excited to be partnering with Searchlight on this opportunity to acquire Frontier’s operations in the Northwest,” said Steve Weed, CEO of WDC, and Founder and former CEO of Wave Broadband. “We have a proven track record of customer satisfaction by providing fast, reliable internet connectivity combined with great service and support. Having grown up in the Northwest, I’m excited to be able to continue to serve my community through this new venture.”
“Searchlight is pleased to have reached this agreement with Frontier,” said Eric Zinterhofer, Founding Partner of Searchlight. “We are excited to partner with Steve and his team, who have an outstanding track record of building best-in-class fiber networks, and who will enable us to accelerate the deployment of superior next generation products for our residential and business customers.”
Additional Transaction Details
Frontier will continue to operate the business and serve customers with existing products and services until the transaction closes. WDC and Searchlight have formed a new company to operate the business and honor existing customer commitments and contracts after the transaction closes.
Under the terms of the transaction, Frontier will receive $1.352 billion in cash at closing subject to certain adjustments, including working capital as compared to an agreed target, and certain pension and retiree medical liabilities. Frontier has also agreed to provide certain transition services to the new ownership group following the closing.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals by the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), applicable state regulatory agencies, and certain local video franchise authorities. Frontier was advised by Evercore and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. WDC and Searchlight were advised by Bank of America, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Bank and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
Additional Details of Frontier Operations
Across the four states, Frontier’s network passes 1.7 million residential and business locations, of which approximately 500,000 are fiber-to-the-premises capable. As of March 31, 2019, Frontier served approximately 150,000 fiber broadband, 150,000 copper broadband and 35,000 video connections in these states.
About Frontier Communications
Frontier Communications Corporation (NASDAQ:FTR) is a leader in providing communications services to urban, suburban, and rural communities in 29 states. Frontier offers a variety of services to residential customers over its fiber-optic and copper networks, including video, high-speed internet, advanced voice, and Frontier Secure® digital protection solutions. Frontier Business™ offers communications solutions to small, medium, and enterprise businesses. More information about Frontier is available at www.frontier.com.
About WaveDivision Capital
Founded in 2003 by broadband entrepreneur Steve Weed, WaveDivision Capital (“WDC”), headquartered in Kirkland, WA, is a private investment firm focused on the broadband industry. Steve was founder and CEO of Wave Broadband, and the managing directors of WDC, Harold Zeitz and Wayne Schattenkerk, were formerly the President and CFO, respectively, of Wave Broadband, which grew to one of the largest broadband companies on the West coast, until its multi-billion dollar sale in 2018. WDC’s goal is to bring better internet connections to more homes and businesses throughout North America. WDC’s current investments include Hargray Communications, Xplornet Communications, MetroNet, and RCN/Wave/Grande. You can learn more about WDC at www.wavedc.com.
About Searchlight Capital Partners
Searchlight is a global private investment firm with offices in New York, London and Toronto. Searchlight seeks to invest in business where their long-term capital and strategic support accelerate value creation for all stakeholders. For more information, please visit www.searchlightcap.com.