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NH joins Vermont in reaching tentative deal with FairPoint to buy Verizon

first_imgFairPoint Reaches Agreement with Staff of the New Hampshire Public Utilities CommissionCHARLOTTE, NC (PRNewswire-FirstCall) — FairPoint Communications, Inc. today (January 24, 2008) announced an agreement has been reached between FairPoint, Verizon and the staff of the Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regarding FairPoint’s proposed acquisition of Verizon’s wireline operations in New Hampshire. The settlement agreement in New Hampshire is consistent with material terms of the amended stipulation agreement with the Maine PUC and the settlement agreement with the Vermont Department of Public Service and contains other terms and conditions specific to New Hampshire. In the agreement, FairPoint, Verizon, and the staff of the PUC recommend the New Hampshire PUC approve the settlement agreement.FairPoint’s acquisition of Verizon’s wireline operations in New Hampshire is part of a larger, previously announced transaction in which FairPoint would also acquire Verizon’s wireline operations in Maine and Vermont. The license transfers in connection with the transaction have been approved by the Federal Communications Commission and the transaction has been approved by the Maine PUC, subject to receipt of a written order from the Maine PUC. The Public Service Board in Vermont has yet to rule on the settlement agreement entered into by FairPoint, Verizon and the Vermont Department of Public Service.”We are pleased at the thoughtful approach by the staff of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission and believe this agreement appropriately addresses important public interest issues in the state. We look forward to serving the people of New Hampshire,” said Gene Johnson, chairman and CEO of FairPoint.In addition to the key financial conditions in the amended stipulation in Maine and the key conditions in the settlement agreement with the Vermont Department of Public Service, FairPoint committed to additional conditions in New Hampshire which address capital expenditures, network and service quality improvement plans, broadband expansion and assurances of financial viability that will benefit the state.Vermont reaches tentative deal with FairPoint to buy VerizonlandlinesIn early January, the Vermont Department of Public Service reached agreement with FairPoint Communications on its $2.7 billion deal to buy Verizon Communications 1.6 million landlines in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.The new deal, as in New Hampshire, mimics the plan approved in Maine last week, which includes a steep reduction in FairPoint’s shareholder dividend (35 percent, resulting in a $50 million per year savings) and what is a de facto reduction in the price of the sale by $235.5 million. The financial moves were considered important in ensuring that FairPoint would be financially able to consumate the deal and live up to other provisions in the agreement, including extension of DSL service and other service and reliability guarantees. FairPoint had reported that to make the deal it would have to borrow $2.5 billion.The deal also includes penalties up to $12.5 million if goals are not met. The Vermont agreement states that FairPoint must invest at least $40 million each year for the first three years and starting in 2009 spend at least $35 million to reduce debt.The entire deal still needs final approval by the Vermont Public Service Board, and by the regulatory body in New Hampshire.The Vermont Public Service Board previously rejected, on December 21, 2007,the application of FairPoint Communications to buy Verizon’s Vermontlandlines. The docket was not closed, however, allowing FairPoint to rework the deal. The PSB said the deal requires the company to carry toomuch debt to be financially sound.FairPoint has also agreed to make broadband Internet access available to all of its customers in at least half its exchanges by 2010.Even if FairPoint ultimately gains approval, discrepancies in thefinal rulings among the three states would have to be dealt with byeach state’s regulatory board.By the middle of December, anyway, it seemed like thedisagreements and conflict over the decision to approve FairPointCommunications $2.7 billion dollar acquisition were finally coming toan end, after the Maine Office of the Public Advocate and the stateadvocate staff at the Public Utility Commission finally agreed toconditions of the settlement on December 12. The agreement comesafter months of opposition from Consumer Advocates and labor unions that stalled thestate’s PUC decision to accept or reject the sale.In December, consumer advocates in Maine and New Hampshirereleased reports urging their state Public Utilities Commissions toreject Verizon’s sale. FairPoint, a North Carolina phone companythat is one-sixth the size of Verizon. Buying Verizon’s northern New England phone lines would make it the eighthlargest communications company in the nation. The settlement, whichwould affect virtually every person with a phone in New Hampshire,Maine and Vermont, needs final approval from all three states utilityregulators before it takes effect.Vermont has focused mainly on how the settlement will affectconsumer-related issues, such as the extension of DSL service areasand reliability. Staff from boards in Maine and New Hampshire,however, initially released reports urging their state’s PUC to full-out reject theproposal. Advocates said they are against the merger because theyfear that FairPoint is not financially capable of making infrastructureimprovements and service commitments without hiking rates, cuttingemployees, or going out of business altogether.”FairPoint and Verizonhave not met their burden of showing that the transaction is in thepublic interest,” explained Meredith A. Hatfield, a consumer advocatefrom New Hampshire. The Maine Public Utilities commission echoedthese sentiments in a report they released in November.”Theproposed transaction subjects both ratepayers and shareholders tosubstantial risks and harms that are not outweighed by any of thepotential benefits of the transaction.”FairPoint has 975 employees in contrast to Verizon’s3,000. FairPoint’s 2006 revenues were at $270 million while Verizon’swere $88 billion. The acquisition would force FairPoint into a $30million dollar a year debt agreement to repay their $2 billion dollardebt. Critics believe these numbers indicate that the settlement willgive FairPoint a financial burden they can’t handle.Despite their outright refusal of the merger, the reports did listterms and conditions for the acquisition if it were approved. Reportsreleased from the Maine Public Utilities Commission ordered that threemain conditions be met for their approval. First, FairPoint must submitto the PUC a plan to deal with expected loss of workers. As part of thedeal, Verizon was also recommended to cut its $2.7 billion dollar pricetag by $600 million. If they do not follow this suggestion, the companymust set aside significant funds for infrastructure upgrades withinFairPoint. As of the December 12 agreement, The company was alsorequired to make minimum capital investments of $47 million in Maineover the next three years, and will reduce dividend levels by 35percent. PUC staff in New Hampshire were not as flexible. They listedeleven conditions in their report that need to be met by bothcompanies for the acquisition to be approved. One of their conditionsalso addressed the issue of Verizon’s price tag, and the debt it willcause FairPoint. The report specifically suggested that Verizon cutFairPoint’s acquisition cost by $200 million with no cost to thecompany. To further address its $30 million dollar debt issue, FairPointwas also urged to cut its dividends by 20 percent. The commission alsowants to have say in fixing the companies transition serviceagreement, or TSA. The briefing says that the price of the TSA exceedsthe costs of services, which gives Verizon and unnecessarily largeprofit. The report suggested that FairPoint have a third party monitorto judge the company’s cutover readiness criteria-or the time whenFairPoint could fully separate from all Verizon systems.last_img read more

Best of The Wursts: Mangia Italiano

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Instead of saving the best for last, we decided to lead off this month with dessert. And what better dessert is there than homemade fresh gelato?In Italian, gelato means frozen. It’s made with more milk than cream, so gelato has less fat. It also has less sugar than ice cream. Less fat and less sugar means more flavor. Hence, gelato has fewer calories than ice cream.Gelato is also churned slower and it has less air than ice cream, so it is denser. And gelato is also slightly warmer than ice cream, which makes the texture silkier and softer.Keep all that in mind when visiting ViAle Gelateria in Lynbrook, which brings us the best of Italy. Anna Franchi, the proprietor, is in the shop every morning at 7 a.m. hand making the best gelato we have tasted this side of the Mediterranean. When we visit Italy — a regular stop for us, as you may sense from our propensity towards Italian cuisine — Jeff insists on having gelato every day. As a result, we’re often disappointed when we sample American-manufactured gelato that rarely presents the lightness and creamy texture that we enjoy in Italy.But ViAle is the real McCoy. Ana comes to us from Ferrara, Italy, in the heart of the Emilia-Romagna region, where the best food in Italy will be found (Bologna, Parma, etc.), so you would expect the best gelato and that is what you get.Jeff’s favorite — at ViAle as well as throughout Italy — is stracciatella, a vanilla ice cream with big chunks of molten chocolate. Vera always gets the caffé, a light coffee ice cream with genuine flavor.ViAle offers any number of rotating flavors such as Raspberry Cheesecake or Zuppa Inglese to supplement the regulars such as Limone, Vaniglia, Ciocolata, and more. The fresh-fruit-flavored and vegan gelati are also handmade.Enter, and before you reach the display of gelato, you will find an exhibition of freshly made pastries and cakes. Anna’s custom-made specialty cakes are not only beautiful, they are outrageously delicious.ViAle Gelateria, 424 Sunrise Hwy, Lynbrook, 516-442-0094. Open daily except Mondays.RESTAURANT WEEKS:Spring Long Island Restaurant Week runs from April 22 through 29. Since 2011, diners Islandwide have celebrated this promotion. Participating restaurants offer a special three-course prix fixe menu for just $28.95 (plus tax and gratuity).longislandrestaurantweek.com.And East End Restaurant Week runs from April 8 through 15. This promotion highlights a special three-course prix fixe for just $28.95 (plus tax and gratuity) at participating restaurants and exclusive offers at certain lodging properties, as we celebrate the beauty of the North and South Forks just before the busy season begins. eastendrestaurantweek.com.CHEFS ON THE RUN:Superchefs Jonathan Contes and Tate Morris, of Mosaic in St. James, are getting ready to put a facelift on their restaurant, which has been open at 418 N. Country Rd. since 2005. The renovations include adding a bar and up to three tables as they grow into the now vacant space next door. They will continue their tasting-menu-only tradition when they reopen. We look forward to visiting and enjoying the revitalized Mosaic later this spring.GALLERIA RISTORANTEWith its white tablecloths, this restaurant has been a mainstay in Westbury for more than 30 years. Galleria Ristorante features quality Northern Italian cuisine.Owner Dominick Zeljko opened the restaurant in 1981 and operated it for many years until he sold it in 2009. He reacquired it five years later and immediately renovated it by, among other things, installing a new kitchen. The restaurant has been booming ever since.On our recent visit with friends, we devoured items on and off the menu. Although not on the menu, Jeff asked if they could make a carpaccio di manzo. And did they ever — fresh, thinly carved, raw filet mignon, served with arugula and shaved parmesan topped with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon, was just perfect!Others tried the Spiedini alla Romano — fresh mozzarella baked in a Parmesan crust stepped up with white wine and shallots. The healthy, hearty Minestrone della Nonna is a thick vegetable soup just like “grandma” made, the perfect dish to warm you on a cold day.Our choices for mains included the fresh, silver-skinned, whole branzino, tender veal chop and the gnocchi della casa (yes, homemade), harmonizing with a delicate veal ragu sauce.Appetizers range from $12 to $24 and entrees are from $18.50 to $38. The wine list is reasonably priced, featuring the major Italian wine regions as well as other Old and New World wines.Galleria Ristorante, 238 Post Ave., Westbury, 516-997-7373. galleriaristorante.com. Open daily.Jeff Wurst is a practicing attorney. Vera is a retired schoolteacher. Both love Long Island food and wine and are delighted to share their discoveries with you. Contact them via lipressfood@gmail.com.last_img read more

Gold Standard…EveryMatrix certifies Vegas Kings agency

first_img StumbleUpon Share Submit Industry platform and software supplier EveryMatrix has announced that it has awarded South African creative agency Vegas Kings with its ‘Gold Certified Partner’ approval.The announcement follows Vegas Kings digital work and delivery for two EveryMatrix clients. Established in 1998, Vegas Kings has focused its creative and development operations for the online betting and igaming industries.The Certified Partners Program initiative started by EveryMatrix aims to improve website development and delivery for clients who choose to take full ownership of their front-end by building their own casino or sportsbook website based on the EveryMatrix’s Web API. The program developed by EveryMatrix has been created to help operators looking for faster delivery and ultimately faster time to market.Marian Buhnici, EveryMatrix Client Integration Manager, commented: “All our Certified Partners must pass our rigorous certification process and meet EveryMatrix’s strict requirements for code quality, website performance, project management, communication and on time delivery. I am very happy to welcome Vegas Kings as our first Gold Certified Partner.”Ashley Adir, CEO of Vegas Kings, added: “We believe it’s going to be a great partnership moving forward; designing and integrating with the EveryMatrix software has been an amazing experience and it’s a great honour to become recognised as a Gold Certified Partner.” Betfred counters Oppenheimer bid in race to rescue Phumelela August 26, 2020 PartnerMatrix drives user engagement with two new deals August 13, 2020 Share Related Articles MoneyMatrix boosts wire transfer options by integrating Klarna’s Sofort August 24, 2020last_img read more

UFC 250: Dominant Nunes to face ‘FeeNom’, returning Garbrandt has point to prove

first_imgGarbrandt, meanwhile, returns to the Octagon after a 15-month hiatus with the former bantamweight champion on a three-fight losing streak.Here, we take a look at three talking points ahead of Saturday’s fight action.Nunes faces ‘FeeNom’ threatThe fearsome Nunes needed just 51 seconds to wrest the featherweight strap from Cyborg in December 2018 to become UFC’s third simultaneous two-weight champion. It was a devastating performance but not out of sync with her dominance in UFC, which now sees her on a 10-fight winning streak, including a 48-second win over Ronda Rousey and triumphs over Miesha Tate, Valentina Shevchenko and Holly Holm. Since defeating Cyborg, Nunes has defended her bantamweight strap against Holm and Germaine de Randamie.For former Invicta FC featherweight champion Spencer – who put on a game showing in a losing effort in Cyborg’s final UFC fight – Nunes represents the greatest challenge of her career. The submission specialist is likely to try and take this one to the ground to avoid the striking ability of Nunes.Humble in the face of her biggest goal! @FeeNom479 is two days from potential gold. #UFC250 pic.twitter.com/5JM5YVO8SP— UFC (@ufc) June 4, 2020Garbrandt at career crossroadsIn December 2016, the bantamweight world was at Garbrandt’s feet as he shocked the legendary Dominick Cruz to become champion at 135 pounds. But a couple of devastating knockout defeats to fierce rival T.J. Dillashaw were followed by a first-round loss to Pedro Munhoz in March last year. With champion Henry Cejudo announcing his UFC retirement after defeating Cruz at UFC 249 last the month, the bantamweight division is wide open, and Garbrandt has a huge opportunity to get his career back on track.However, ‘No Love’ comes up against the fifth-ranked Raphael Assuncao – a man also out to recover from damaging defeats to Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen. Victory could propel either toward a future title fight. Defeat … well best for both men not to contemplate what that could mean for their UFC futures. The hardest hitting 135-er!? @Cody_NoLove | Saturday | LIVE on ESPN+ PPV | #UFC250 pic.twitter.com/HrLiNNbU3J— UFC (@ufc) June 3, 2020Sterling-Sandhagen to stake bantamweight claimsIn a night that will go a long way to shaping the future of the bantamweight division, the highly rated Aljamain Sterling goes up against Sandhagen to lay their respective claims for a title fight. Sterling, ranked second in the division, is an upcoming star who has won four straight bouts. His ‘Funk Master’ moniker is a fair reflection of his flair-fight style, but in Sandhagen he goes up against a fighter who is also riding the crest of a wave.The American has won each of his five fights in UFC and only has one defeat overall on his MMA resume. This one has serious ‘Fight of the Night’ potential and is sure to have ramifications for the outcome of the title. Amanda Nunes and Cody Garbrandt are aiming to make statements at UFC 250 this weekend for vastly contrasting reasons.For Nunes, her bout with Felicia Spencer at UFC’s APEX facility in Las Vegas marks the first defense of the featherweight belt she took from Cris Cyborg in sensational fashion a year and a half ago.last_img read more

‘It’s an exceptional group’, Guardiola salutes City

first_imgThe Spaniard had watched that match from high in the stands as he served out a suspension.But he played down any significance in being closer to the action as Riyad Mahrez scored twice, his first goals for the club, in an emphatic victory which kept them in touch with the Premier League pace-setters.“I don’t play,” said Guardiola, after watching Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan help his team score five or more goals for the 10th time since he took charge before the 2016-17 season.“The managers, we are there to be there when they have little doubts, to support them.“I don’t know what’s going to happen with these guys. It’s the same group, they keep reacting, they are an exceptional group.“But they know when the situation is not good in terms of results, the closer I am to them.“They deserve all my respect. They made me happy the last two seasons, and that’s why, always, I will be with them.”City were 3-0 ahead and cruising at half-time, before Mahrez replaced Aguero on the hour mark and scored twice, his first goals since his move from Leicester in July.The Algerian has only started two Premier League games for the champions and Guardiola admitted he wished he could offer more minutes on the field to both Mahrez and young England hopeful Phil Foden, who also came off the bench in the second half.“It’s good for him to get the first goals,” added Guardiola.“Of course it’s important for him. He came here, he’s an incredibly talented player. He deserves to play more minutes, like Phil Foden.“It’s a pleasure to watch Phil play football and, of course, Riyad as well.“But the season is too long and they have to be ready, prepared, because they are going to play a lot of minutes.”– Slick City –City are now only two points behind leaders Liverpool after emphatically banishing any suggestions their European angst might leak into their domestic form.They toyed with Cardiff for much of a one-sided contest and if they had doubled their scoreline then the Bluebirds, who dropped into the relegation zone, could have had few complaints.“After a not good result in midweek, we responded with the same level we had for the last 12 or 13 months,” Guardiola said.“The first 20-25 minutes is always complicated, not easy, but after one or two goals immediately it was easier.”For Cardiff manager Neil Warnock, the defeat means they are still seeking their first victory of the campaign.They also lost full-back Lee Peltier with a dislocated shoulder, which Warnock expects will keep the defender out for a number of months.Warnock acknowledged the divide in class between the teams and added: “It was a long afternoon. We are finding it difficult at the moment against the top clubs.“But, like I have said before, it’s not going to define our season.“It will knock our chins to the floor for a bit, but the lads have got to get over this and get on with next week.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez celebrates with team-mates after scoring his second goal © AFP / Geoff CADDICKCARDIFF, United Kingdom, Sep 22 – Pep Guardiola insisted it was his players who deserved the spotlight after the Manchester City manager returned to the dug-out to inspire a 5-0 thrashing of Cardiff on Saturday.Guardiola was back on the touchline in the Welsh capital and the champions were back in the old routine after their shock midweek defeat at home by Lyon in the Champions League.last_img read more