We’ve barely had time to get used to the idea that Oceanic Cable has been swallowed up by cable giant Charter Communications, which bought Oceanic’s parent company, Time Warner Cable.
And today comes news that Verizon is now seriously considering a deal to take over and merge with Charter.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
Verizon is the nation’s biggest wireless broadband provider, but it is relatively small in wired broadband with the Fios coverage area passing just 14 million households. Charter’s wired broadband service passes 49 million homes and is growing even as the pay-TV market is shrinking. This would give Verizon some of the growth it desperately needs to offset declines in the wireless business.
Of course, Oceanic is way down the food chain in this deal, but it still will reverberate right down to cable and broadband subscribers if it ever comes to pass.
And it shows how things go round and round. Today Hawaiian Tel is engaged in intense competition with Oceanic as the telephone provider focuses on extended its fiber optics network and challenging Oceanic for broadband and television services.
If Verizon does take over Charter and Oceanic, it will inherit the position as dominant cable company in Hawaii, and chief rival to Hawaiian Tel.
It’s been a long and winding corporate history.
My grandfather worked at one time for Mutual Telephone, which had started business in the days of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Mutual changed its name to Hawaiian Telephone Company in the 1950s. A decade later, in 1967, the company was bought out by GTE and became GTE Hawaiian Tel. Three decades later, GTE merged with Bell Atlantic to form Verizon, and Hawaiian Tel became a Verizon company. In 2004, Verizon sold off the Hawaii firm to The Carlyle Group, an investment company. After a series of financial woes, Hawaiian Tel filed for bankruptcy, and controlling interest passed to another investment firm, Cerberus Capital Management. As the company emerged from bankruptcy, it went public. Hawaiian Tel now operates as the primary subsidiary of Hawaiian Telcom Holdco, Inc.
Such are the ways of capital, I guess.