Frontier Communications — which provides all landline telephone service in southern Lincoln County and some Internet service — has agreed to sell all operations in Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
The purchase will be made by WaveDivision Capital, LLC and Searchlight Capital Partners, LLC. The partners have not yet decided on a name for the new company that is to be formed.
The areas involved produce approximately $46 million annually in net revenue, according to a Frontier press release. The purchase price — subject to closing adjustments — is $1.352 billion.
WaveDivision was founded in 2003 by broadband entrepreneur Steve Weed, and is headquartered in Kirkland, Washington, according to the company press release. Searchlight is a global private investment firm with offices in New York, London and Toronto.
“We are excited to transition these operations to a local ownership team and to invest in building out the network of next generation fiber throughout our region,” a WaveDivision press release quotes Weed as saying.
“We are big believers in the Northwest’s future growth opportunities and that future runs on broadband,” Weed is quoted as saying. “As the former leaders of another successful Northwest internet provider, Wave Broadband, we know what it takes to bring fiber and other advanced services to residential and business customers, give them choices, and keep them happy.”
John Raffetto, of Raffetto Herman Strategic Communications, confirmed that WaveDivision will take over all of Frontier’s operations in the northwest, including both Internet and telephone service.
In response to questions about infrastructure investment — specifically in cases such as the backup batteries that failed under Frontier’s watch, leaving Happys Inn residents without phone service — Raffetto said specific plans are still being formulated.
In the WaveDivision press release, Weed states that the transaction is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
“We believe this transaction will benefit the communities we serve in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington as WDC provides ongoing services and expands availability of fiber-based communication services,” said Joe Gamble, senior vice president of Frontier West Region. “Frontier will continue to operate the business and serve existing and new customers with products and services until the transaction closes, and WDC will provide service to these customers following the close of the transaction and honor Frontier’s commitments to and contracts with retail and wholesale customers.”
“We anticipate closing within one year and intend to keep key public utility commissions, local franchise authority, government officials and the communities we serve apprised of the transaction throughout,” Gamble said.