Cincinnati Bell To Merge With Hawaiian Telcom, Acquire Solution Provider OnX Enterprise Solutions

Telecom provider Cincinnati Bell went on an acquisition spree Monday, saying it would be combining with Hawaiian Telcom and solution provider OnX Enterprise Solutions in an effort to expand its scale and focus on fiber networking and managed services.

Cinncinnati Bell said its purchase of OnX Enterprise Solutions will assist the company's "transformation" in becoming a hybrid IT provider. Via the terms of the deal, Cincinnati Bell will pick up Onx Enterprise Solutions for about $201 million in cash.

OnX Enterprise Solutions, with global headquarters in Toronto and U.S. headquarters in New York, provides data center and cloud solutions, as well as managed services for business customers. The solution provider is a large partner to vendors including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Cisco Systems and VMware.

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In a statement, Cinncinnati Bell said that the acquisition will grow its IT and cloud services footprint to include 20 sales offices and more than 50 data center locations through strategic partners.

OnX Enterprise Solutions could not be reached for comment prior to publication.

Cincinnati Bell's merger with Honolulu-based local exchange carrier Hawaiian Telcom, meanwhile, which is being valued at $650 million, will help the company grow its business in the network communications arena as it looks to offer more advanced fiber solutions. Hawaiian Telcom shares Cincinnati Bell's vision on fiber investment, according to Cincinnati Bell.

Combined, the providers' fiber networks will exceed 14,000 fiber route miles. The deal also will give Cincinnati Bell access to Hawaiian Telcom's 2.6 TB of Trans-Pacific fiber cable that links Asia and the U.S.

Cincinnati Bell's footprint currently services Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

"Cloud migration, the need for fiber infrastructure that supports 5G-ready, high-density data transmission and IoT are the key trends that will define telecommunications in the future. The implementation of our refined strategy, coupled with today's combinations, will help build two distinct businesses with the appropriate scale, structure and leadership … while providing strategic optionality from a diversified but complementary portfolio of assets," Leigh Fox, president and CEO of Cincinnati Bell, said of the two impending deals in a statement.

The proposed merger will bring together Hawaiian Telcom's 1,300 employees with Cincinnati Bell's staff of 3,000. The two companies said that Hawaiian Telcom will retain its brand name and will continue to be managed from Hawaii.

Cincinnati Bell and ‍Hawaiian Telcom shareholders can elect either $30.75 in cash, 1.6305 shares of Cincinnati Bell common stock, or a mix of $18.45 in cash and 0.6522 shares of Cincinnati Bell common stock for each share of Hawaiian Telcom. Hawaiian Telcom will have two seats on the board of the soon-to-be-combined company, according to a statement from both companies.

Cincinnati Bell secured financing from Morgan Stanley Senior Funding to fund a portion of cash consideration of transactions.

Both the Hawaiian Telcom and OnX Enterprise Solutions deals are subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions. Cinncinnati Bell said it expects the Hawaiian Telcom merger to close in the second half of 2018, and the OnX Enterprise Solutions deal to close in the beginning of fourth-quarter 2017.