LEWISTON — After a two-hour meeting, shareholders approved the sale of Oxford Networks to the Montreal private equity firm Novacap in a vote at Oxford’s Data Center at Brunswick Landing.

“We walked the shareholders through the process we followed to really find the best partner and best way to appropriately capitalize this company to grow,” Oxford Networks President and CEO Craig Gunderson said Thursday afternoon. “We appreciate their support, their loyalty to the company and their well-wishes. We have to now execute our plans to deliver them future value.”

The company again declined to release financial details of the sale. The specifics, as outlined in a proxy statement acquired by the Bangor Daily News, are:

* $18.5 million in cash, with Novacap taking over about $30 million in debt.

* Preferred shareholders would receive $17.3 million.

* About 350 people who own 890,000 shares of common stock in the company wouldn’t see any money unless Novacap sells the company at a significant profit. Those shares were valued at $14.73 each in December 2012.


Because of that, two common shareholders, Michael Jennings of East Winthrop and Robert G. Fuller Jr. of Atlantic Beach, Fla., have been approved as intervenors in the review before the Maine Public Utilities Commission. The intervenors plan to argue the sale shouldn’t go through.

Gunderson said a large majority of each class of stockholders voted in favor of the deal, while among common stockholders, 83.7 percent voted in favor and 4.3 percent against. Twelve percent didn’t vote.

What is now Oxford Networks was founded in 1900 in Oxford County as a rural phone carrier. It now offers phone and high-speed Internet services.

The company employs 120 people and has 2,600 business customers. Its deal with Novacap appears to have roots back to 2012: A letter of intent between Novacap and the Oxford County Telephone and Telegraph Company dated June 25, 2013, and filed with the Public Utilities Commission references a confidentiality agreement from a year before.

Financial specifics were heavily redacted. The letter does include mention of Novacap’s past involvement in the telecommunications industry, including company officials who were “responsible for the acquisition of over 10 rural telephone companies representing over 125,000 access lines.”

And a mention of the future: “Following the acquisition, Novacap team (sic) works with company’s executives to devise a 100-day plan to improve the company’s operations and to set key priorities to build long term value.”


The sale still needs regulatory approval from the PUC, the Federal Communications Commission and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, in the next three to five months.

Gunderson has said customers shouldn’t see reduced services due to the sale. Oxford Networks plans to keep its name and maintain its local headquarters on Lisbon Street.

The company plans to announce news about an expansion at its two-year-old Data Center in Brunswick next week.


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