Alaska Communications Enters Definitive Agreement to be Acquired by ATN International in $322 Million Transaction
On December 31, 2020, Alaska Communications Systems Group entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which the company will be acquired by a newly formed entity owned by ATN International and Freedom 3 Capital in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $332 million, including net debt.
The merger will result in Alaska Communications becoming a consolidated, majority owned subsidiary of ATN and is expected to close in the second half of 2021. Alaska Communications’ prior agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of Macquarie Capital and GCM Grosvenor, through its Labor Impact Fund, has been terminated.
Under the terms of the agreement, an affiliate of ATN will acquire all the outstanding shares of Alaska Communications common stock for $3.40 per share in cash. This represents a premium of approximately 78 percent over the closing per share price of $1.91 on November 2, 2020, the last trading day prior to the date when Alaska Communications’ original merger agreement with Macquarie and GCM was executed, a 70 percent premium to the 30-day volume weighted average price up to and including November 2, 2020, and a 4 percent premium to Macquarie and GCM’s prior binding agreement to acquire the company.
The merger agreement follows the determination by the Alaska Communications Board of Directors, after consultation with its legal and financial advisors, that the ATN proposal constituted a “Superior Proposal” as defined in Alaska Communications’ previously announced merger agreement with Macquarie and GCM.
Consistent with that determination and following the expiration of the negotiation period with Macquarie and GCM required under such agreement, Alaska Communications terminated that agreement. In connection with the termination, Alaska Communications paid Macquarie and GCM a $6.8 million break-up fee.
David W. Karp, Chairman of the Alaska Communications Board of Directors, says, “Today’s announcement is the product of a comprehensive process that demonstrates what a strong business the team at Alaska Communications has built. The agreement with ATN is a great result for our stockholders, who will receive significant near-term value.”
Bill Bishop, president and CEO of Alaska Communications, states, “This transaction represents an exciting opportunity to augment our market position, as well as expand our capabilities to better serve our customers. ATN has extensive telecommunications expertise, a strong track record of successfully investing in and operating capital-intensive businesses, and has a strong financial position highlighted by its net cash position. These are critical attributes that will support our strategy to deliver superior customer service utilizing our fiber-based network solutions.
“We firmly believe this transaction will allow us to enhance our expanded fiber network services and drive long-term value for our employees and customers in Alaska.”
Michael Prior, Chairman and CEO of ATN, states, “This investment and merger allows us to enter a new market with many similar characteristics to our existing operations in the United States and elsewhere. Further, it aligns with our strategy to leverage the broad capabilities of our operating platform to enhance and augment leading providers of facilities-based communications services in distinctive markets.
“ATN has a long history of enabling its subsidiaries to gain and maintain strong market positions by investing in high quality infrastructure, the latest technologies and creative solutions to give customers a superior experience. We recognize the same determination and customer-centric approach in the Alaska Communications team. Our industry is rapidly changing, and communications requirements have never been more essential and critical than they are today. We look forward to combining our resources and experience with Alaska Communications’ market knowledge and reputation for superior service to provide industry-leading communications products and services to customers in Alaska and beyond.”
The merger is subject to the approval of Alaska Communications’ stockholders, regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions. The merger has fully committed debt and equity financing and is not subject to any condition with regard to financing. Alaska Communications’ Board of Directors has unanimously approved the agreement and recommends that Alaska Communications’ stockholders approve the proposed merger and merger agreement. Alaska Communications expects to hold a special meeting of stockholders to consider and vote on the proposed merger and merger agreement as soon as practicable after the mailing of the proxy statement to its stockholders.
TAR Holdings, which owns approximately 8.8 percent of the outstanding shares of Alaska Communications common stock, has entered into a voting agreement with ATN agreeing, among other things, to vote in favor of the merger. The voting agreement will automatically terminate upon the earliest of (a) the vote of stockholders on the merger, (b) any termination of the Merger Agreement, (c) any change in recommendation by the Board of Alaska Communications and (d) 14 months after the signing of the Merger Agreement. Under the voting agreement, TAR Holdings may sell shares of the company’s stock in the open market through a broker dealer.