The Carlyle Group has sold Crest Communications Corp. to Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ALSK) for approximately $70 million. Crest is a Hillsboro, Ore.-based owner and operator of fiberoptic cables connecting Alaska to the mainland U.S. and Alaskan cities to each other. It wa was bought out of bankruptcy by Carlyle for approximately $30 million in 2002.
Global private equity firm The Carlyle Group today announced the completed sale of Crest Communications Corp. to Alaska Communications Systems Group, Inc. (ACS) (NASDAQ:ALSK) for approximately $70 million in cash. The transaction closed on October 30, 2008. This is the third successful investment Carlyle has made in partnership with the Crest management team, led by Donald Schroeder.
Brooke Coburn, Carlyle Managing Director and Head of Carlyle Growth Partners and Crest Director, said, “This is a good example of how private equity in partnership with world class management can create shareholder value. Carlyle’s industry expertise in telecommunications, combined with our ability to stabilize a distressed company and invest for future growth, enabled Crest to work through its prior challenges and become a thriving company.”
Mr. Coburn added, “Crest Chief Executive Officer Don Schroeder has a remarkable track record working with Carlyle. Crest now joins our two prior successful investments with his team in Neptune Communications (12x return) and Pacific Telecom Cable (8x return).”
Based in Hillsboro, Oregon, Crest owned and operated the Alaska North Star Submarine Cable (a 2,000-mile undersea cable connecting Alaska to the contiguous United States) and the Alaska Fiber Star System (a 400-mile terrestrial fiber optic network connecting the major cities within Alaska). Crest also owned and operated multiple network operations control centers, collocation facilities and trans-Pacific branching units.
Through its $600 million Carlyle Venture Partners II fund, Carlyle acquired Crest out of bankruptcy in 2002 in partnership with the management team of Neptune Communications.
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About Alaska Communications Systems
Headquartered in Anchorage, ACS is Alaska’s leading provider of broadband and other wireline and wireless solutions to Enterprise and mass market customers. The ACS wireline operations include the state’s most advanced data networks and, with the acquisition of Crest Communications and build of the AKORN fiber, will be the only company with a geographically diverse undersea fiber optic network connecting Alaska to the contiguous United States. The ACS wireless operations rely on the only statewide 3G network, reaching across Alaska from the North Slope to Ketchikan, with coverage extended via the best CDMA carriers in the Lower 49 and Canada. By investing in the fastest-growing market segments and attracting the highest quality customers, ACS seeks to drive top and bottom-line growth, while continually improving customer experience and cost structure through process improvement. More information can be found on the company’s website at www.acsalaska.com or at its investor site at www.alsk.com.
About Crest Communications Corporation
Crest is a facilities-based provider of high-bandwidth, fiber optic communications infrastructure to carrier and corporate/government customers in the Pacific Northwest. Crest consists of three subsidiaries that own the infrastructure: WCI Cable, Inc., Northern Lights Holdings, Inc. and World Net Communications, Inc. The primary assets of the Company consist of an integrated terrestrial and submarine fiber optic network that links the Alaskan market to interconnection points in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.