Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cogeco to acquire MetroCast cable systems for $1.4bn

Cogeco Communications, the 8th largest cable operator in North America, announced that its subsidiary serving the U.S., Atlantic Broadband, has entered into a definitive agreement with Harron Communications to purchase all of its cable systems operating under the MetroCast brand.

Under the terms of the agreement, substantially all of the assets of MetroCast will be purchased for $1.4 billion, while in conjunction with the transaction Atlantic Broadband expects to realise tax benefits with a present value of approximately $310 million. After adjusting for tax benefits, the purchase price represents a multiple of approximately 9x 2017 forecast adjusted EBITDA for the business being acquired.

As part of the transaction, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) has committed a $315 million equity investment for a 21% interest in Atlantic Broadband's holding company, with the remaining balance of the purchase price and transaction costs to be financed through a committed secured debt financing provided by two banks at Atlantic Broadband.

MetroCast's networks pass 236,000 homes and businesses in New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia and serve approximately 120,000 Internet, 76,000 video and 37,000 telephony customers. For the calendar year 2017 the company's revenue is expected to be approximately $230 million, with adjusted EBITDA projected to be approximately $121 million.

Cogeco stated that the transaction is intended to add scale in the American broadband services segment, with Atlantic Broadband's primary service units (PSU) to increase from approximately 602,000 to a total of 835,000 after the acquisition. In addition, MetroCast's systems are mainly serve non-metropolitan markets with attractive demographic profiles and it will be able to leverage Atlantic Broadband's product and sales capabilities to expand the customer base.

The MetroCast network is fully digital and comprises 860 MHz or FTTH infrastructure across 95% of the network and supports broadband speeds of 150 Mbit/s across the footprint. Atlantic Broadband is currently the 9th largest cable company in the U.S. serving around 239,000 Internet, video and voice customers and following the transaction will have a geographic footprint extending from Maine to Florida.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, is expected to close in January 2018.

Cogeco Communications is a major cable operator in North America, operating in Canada under the Cogeco Connexion name in Québec and Ontario, and in the U.S. through the Atlantic Broadband brand.


Regarding the transaction, Atlantic Broadband president and CEO Richard Shea said, "After the successful acquisition and integration of the MetroCast Connecticut system almost two years ago, Atlantic Broadband understands the sizable residential and business growth potential that it can expect with the remaining MetroCast systems".


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