Hawaiian Telcom to merge with Cincinnati Bell

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian Telcom's board of directors have approved an agreement to merge with a telecoms firm on the mainland, but the company says there will be "no material change" to local jobs.

Regulatory approvals could take a full year.

Hawaiian Telcom has 1,300 employees. Cincinnati Bell employs 3,000. The two do not expect to make major changes to employment because their operations are so far apart. The acquisition of any local company by a larger company on the mainland always raises fears that back office jobs will be moved out of state.

The deal, announced early Monday morning, gives Hawaiian Telcom shareholders the option to cash out for $30.75 per share, take 1.6305 shares of Cincinnati Bell common stock for each share of Hawaiian Telcom stock, or a mix of $18,45 in cash and 0.6522 shares of Cincinnati Bell common. The share price of $30.75 represents a 26 percent premium on the closing price Friday.

Cincinnati Bell says Hawaiian Telcom will maintain its separate brand and will honor its union contracts.

Hawaiian Telcom CEO Scott Barber describes the two companies as having "highly complementary values, distinctive brands and vision focused on fiber as the future." Both companies have been countering the widespread decline of old-fashioned copper wire landlines by rewiring their networks with fiberoptics.

Hawaiian Telcom has been diversifying, selling cable-style TV services distributed over its fiber network, marketing itself as a broadband Internet service provider, and leveraging its computer network nerve center to sell network management services to business clients.

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