ANCHORAGE — Two multimillion-dollar deals involving Alaska telecommunications company General Communications Incorporated were announced Wednesday.
One is an agreement that GCI will buy up the wireless assets of Anchorage-based Alaska Communications, including its customers. The other deal is an investment in GCI by London-based private equity firm Searchlight Capital Partners, whose co-founder is set to join the GCI board of directors.
Alaska Communications said in a statement Wednesday that GCI plans to pay $300 million cash for its remaining wireless business: a one-third stake in the Alaska Wireless Network, a partnership corporation between the two companies, as well as Alaska Communications’ wireless customer base.
The sale, which is expected to close in 2015, will help Alaska Communications pay down debt and focus on its broadband and information technology business, the company said in a statement.
“Selling our wireless business increases attention to our greatest areas of growth and highest levels of profitability,” said Anand Vadapalli, Alaska Communications’ president and CEO, in the statement.
In a separate news release from GCI on Thursday, the company announced a $75 million investment by Searchlight Capital Partners. Searchlight’s co-founder Eric Zinterhofer will be invited to join the GCI board, the statement says.
Zinterhofer has invested in several cable, wireless and satellite companies around the world in the past 15 years, the statement says. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Searchlight specializes in business acquisitions and buyouts, but also has invested in companies in which it has strong controlling rights.
“Eric brings a tremendous amount of experience and expertise in our industry,” said Ron Duncan, GCI’s president and CEO, in the GCI statement. “We look forward to leveraging that experience and expertise in GCI’s mission.”
Searchlight is “thrilled” at the idea of investing in GCI, Zinterhofer said in the statement.
“The catalyst for our investment, namely the announced purchase of certain wireless assets of Alaska Communications … is an important milestone for the company,” Zinterhofer said.
Staff writer Casey Grove is the News-Miner’s Anchorage reporter. Contact him at 770-0722 or follow on Twitter: @kcgrove.