WINNIPEG, Manitoba and HONOLULU - Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) today announced that Craig will purchase Verizon's video operations in Hawaii. Terms of the definitive agreement were not disclosed.
The transfer of Verizon's video service business in Hawaii to Craig, a privately held company that provides communication and entertainment services in Canada, and the United States, must be approved by regulatory authorities in the United States. The sale is expected to be final this year.
Verizon Media Ventures Inc., a unit of Verizon Communications, offers video and entertainment services through Verizon americastsm on Oahu. Although detailed transition plans are still in process, Craig expects to assume the majority of Verizon americast employees in Hawaii at closing.
This agreement will not impact Verizon Hawaii or its telecommunications customers for local, wireless, long-distance or Internet access. Americast will continue to provide cable television and entertainment services under Craig's ownership. A new name for the services will be announced at a later date.
"We are pleased to be involved in this unique and strategically beneficial transaction. We are certain that with a dedicated team of local employees, we will continue to offer quality video and entertainment services and become a valuable partner in the Hawaii communities we serve," said Boyd Craig, principal of Craig. "We're very strong believers in the competitiveness of the product offering that fixed wireless systems such as the one in Oahu are able to provide. We also believe Oahu is a great place to do business...great opportunities, great people, great culture, and great climate. In our view, the people of Oahu should enjoy the same benefits as people on the North American mainland in terms of choice and value. Americast has done a great job of building the system to this point; and we intend to move it forward to the next level."
Verizon and Craig are committed to creating a seamless transition for customers during and after the sale of americast. Craig will maintain the same channel selection as Verizon americast, and rates are expected to remain the same, according to Craig. Craig also plans to introduce a broadband Internet product in the near future to enhance its product offering.
Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. is a privately held company with operations throughout Western Canada and in the Palm Springs region of California, including radio and television stations, wireless cable television and wireless high-speed Internet.
The goal of the company has been, and will continue to be, to provide the community with a high-quality and affordable alternative to other cable TV services, according to the companies.
Craig intends to provide the same high level of service under its ownership as was provided by Verizon americast, and the company further intends to expand its operation to provide additional services.
Last year, Verizon said it planned to sell its americast properties to a company that would see more strategic value in these operations. Craig continues to expand its portfolio of markets in which it operates such services, whereas Verizon has decided to focus on other opportunities.
In Hawaii, Verizon americast provides more than 10,000 customers with digital wireless video services that provide access to more than 190 channels of video and music programming. Verizon americast's core program line-up includes 81 video channels and Music Choice - which has 41 channels of commercial-free music in a wide spectrum of styles. In addition, there are 31 premium movie and multi-cultural channels and 40 channels of pay-per-view programming. Thirty-five of those 40 channels constitute InDemandSM service that gives viewers a wide selection of recently released movies that can be received in surround sound.
Craig will maintain its primary offices in Winnipeg and Calgary, Canada. All day-to-day operations will continue to be managed by personnel in Hawaii, maintaining the operational commitment to, and presence in, Oahu.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 112 million access line equivalents and 27 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.
Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. has been a leader in Canadian media and communications for over 50 years. The company operates four off air television stations and four radio stations in Western Canada. Craig Broadcast Systems also holds licenses to operate eighteen specialty digital cable television channels across Canada, three of which will begin broadcasting in the fall of this year.
The company is the majority shareholder in Craig Wireless International Inc., a subsidiary operating wireless cable television systems in Palm Springs, CA and the Province of Manitoba, Canada under the name "SkyCable". The company's Manitoba network is one of the largest fixed wireless MMDS networks in North America. In addition to the aforementioned operations, the company holds MMDS licenses for the Province of British Columbia in Canada, including the city of Vancouver. The company is focusing on expanding its MMDS systems to include fixed wireless broadband access in all of its markets.
A subsidiary of Craig Broadcast Systems is a minority shareholder in Walker Wireless in New Zealand.
Craig Broadcast has excellent institutional partners in its ventures including Sasktel, the incumbent telephone system operator in the Province of Saskatchewan, Canada, in wireless communications and TD Capital in television operations.