Vermont, FairPoint buyer reach agreement

Markets Associated Press

The state of Vermont has reached an agreement with the company buying FairPoint Communications that moves the sale closer to being approved.

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The Vermont Department of Public Service said Consolidated Communications of Illinois has agreed to most of the state's requests, including reinvesting for three years an average of 14 percent of its Vermont business in its statewide system.

"After our investigations and after our analysis, our experts determined that this is the appropriate amount for the company to reinvest in the network," said the department's Clay Purvis.

Maine and New Hampshire regulators have approved the sale.

Consolidated has agreed to reinvest 13 percent of its New Hampshire revenues into system improvements and to make $17.4 million annual investments in Maine for three years, Vermont Public Radio reported .

Vermont's agreement must be approved by the state Public Service Board.

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Consolidated announced plans last year to buy FairPoint. Under the agreement, Consolidated will assume FairPoint's debt and offer dividends to stockholders.

FairPoint's acquisition of Verizon's landline assets in northern New England was fraught with problems. FairPoint struggled with debt, declining landline accounts and customer service problems before filing for bankruptcy, from which it emerged in 2011.

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Information from: WVPS-FM, http://www.vpr.net

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Information from: WVPS-FM, http://www.vpr.net