GCI-Liberty merger advances
The next step in the merger of Alaska telecommunications giant GCI with a Colorado-based media conglomerate was approved Tuesday by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. The RCA approved changes in ownership sought by GCI for its cable operations in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and 14 other cities and towns in the state. It also approved the transfer of GCI’s long-distance, local telephone service and payphone service around Alaska. The Colorado company is the Liberty Interactive Corp.
A new company, GCI Liberty Inc., is emerging from the transactions. The RCA noted in its order that the resulting companies pledge that “the leadership team, brand, operations and products and services for GCI’s operating companies will not change as a result of the proposed transaction, nor will GCI’s Alaska-based focus.”
The RCA noted that two of GCI’s competitors, Alaska Communications and Quintillion Networks, filed comments concerning the sale, urging regulators to ensure the public, and competition, wouldn’t suffer in the merger. The commission responded that customers have chosen services from GCI “for many years.”
In a corporate document reserving the name “GCI Liberty Inc.,” GCI Senior Counsel Mark Moderow said in August that both the RCA and the Federal Communications Commission will have a role in approving the Liberty deal. He acknowledged the merger was a “rather complicated corporate transaction.”
GCI also owns television station KTVA, which is licensed by the FCC.