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Choice One, CTC Acquire Conversent Communications

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WALTHAM, Mass., and ROCHESTER, N.Y., March 28, 2006 -- Choice One Communications and CTC Communications, which announced their merger agreement on Feb. 10, today said they are jointly acquiring Conversent Communications Inc., a communications provider serving customers in the Northeast and West Virginia, for an undisclosed amount. The combination creates the second-largest competitive communications provider in the US and allows them to compete more aggressively for business customers against Verizon and AT&T, the companies said.

Conversent was formed through the April 2005 merger of its subsidiaries, Conversent Holdings Inc. and FiberNet, headquartered in Marlborough, Mass., and Charleston, W.V., respectively. Conversent has facilities and customers in the Northeast and West Virginia.

On a combined basis, the three companies currently generate about $800 million in annual revenue and provide telecommunications services to over 150,000 business customers. The combined company, which will be privately held, will be the country's second-largest competitive communications provider, with a heavy regional focus in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and upper Midwest regions. Its network will include 10,000 route miles of fiber, the companies said.

CTC's headquarters are in Waltham, Mass., and Choice One is based in Rochester, N.Y. After the merger, the combined company will continue to maintain a major presence in Boston, Rochester and Charleston, the companies said, although they did not name a headquarters site. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Closing is expected to take place in three or four months; the name of the combined company has not been determined. The acquisition will be partially funded with an equity investment from Columbia Ventures Corp. (the sole shareholder of CTC Communications) and a corresponding equity investment from existing Choice One shareholders or their affiliates.

"Consolidation to enable increased efficiency has been a part of the strategy from the beginning. Conversent is a well-run, well-managed, growing business, and we welcome the Conversent team to join with us in realizing the benefits of one of the most exciting combinations ever to occur in the competitive telecommunications industry," said Tom Casey, chairman and CEO of Choice One, in a statement released by the companies.

"Business customers tell us that they want a clear, differentiated and sustainable alternative to the big phone companies," said Ray Allieri, president and CEO of CTC, in the joint statement. "Adding Conversent to our already announced combination of Choice One and CTC creates an even stronger competitor to the incumbent local exchange carriers like Verizon and AT&T. The scale of our new company will give us the ability to further invest in our high-touch customer service and next-generation network and allow us to expand our feature-rich service offerings, particularly in the area of Voice over IP (VoIP)."

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Mar 2006
acquireacquisitionsChoice OneCommunicationsConversentCTCFiberNetmergersNews & Featurestelecommunications

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