SkyBest Holding Company, LLC of West Jefferson, North Carolina and Loretto Telecom are pleased to announce that the parties have entered into a purchase agreement, whereby SkyBest Holding Company, LLC will purchase the stock of Loretto Telecom, pending regulatory approval.
About Loretto Telecom
Loretto Telephone Company, Inc. (“LTC”) is a small, rural independent incumbent local exchange carrier in Tennessee with almost 3,500 access lines. LTC acquired its first telephone exchange in 1946, was later incorporated on May 3, 1956, and has been providing local exchange telephone and exchange access services to its customers in Lawrence County for over seventy years.
Loretto Communication Services (“LCS”) is a Tennessee corporation, formed on May 18, 2000, providing inter-exchange long distance, broadband, and medical alert services to customers in the Loretto Telecom service area. LCS received authority from the Federal Communication Commission on August 27, 2004, to provide global or limited global resale service.
About SkyBest Holding Company, LLC
SkyBest Holding Company LLC is a subsidiary of SkyBest Communications, Inc., a North Carolina corporation formed on January 28, 1998. SkyBest Communications is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SkyLine Telephone Membership Corporation (“SkyLine TMC”).
SkyLine is a local, member-owned telephone cooperative formed on January 4, 1951, providing incumbent local exchange (“ILEC”) and exchange access services to approximately 27,343 access lines in the following counties and exchanges in North Carolina: Alleghany County (Scottville, Glade Creek, and Sparta exchanges), Ashe County (Baldwin, Creston, Nathans Creek, and Lansing exchanges), Avery County (Banner Elk and Beech Mountain exchanges), and Watauga County (Sugar Grove and Watauga exchanges); and Johnson County, Tennessee (Shady Valley exchange).
A wholly-owned subsidiary of SkyLine, SkyBest Communications, Inc., a North Carolina corporation, provides competitive local exchange (“CLEC”) and exchange access services to approximately 2,921 access lines, predominately in areas bordering SkyLine’s ILEC operations.
Within the ILEC and CLEC footprint, SkyBest Communications also offers Internet, video, long distance, home security, Medical Alert, Automation/Surveillance services and Business Communications solutions. SkyBest Communications offers international toll telecommunications services.
SkyLine also holds minority interest in two wireless companies (Carolina West Wireless, Inc. and WSS, L.L.C.) which hold licenses in western North Carolina. SkyLine also owns a minority interest in Access/On Multimedia Inc., a regional fiber transport network, which serves north-central and northwestern North Carolina.
Recently, SkyLine acquired all of the stock in Chesnee Telephone Company, Incorporated (“Chesnee Telephone”), a small, independent ILEC in South Carolina, including its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Chesnee Long Distance, Inc. (“Chesnee LD”), Chesnee Digital, Inc. and Chesnee Cable, Inc.
Chesnee Telephone provides local exchange telephone and exchange access services to customers in Spartanburg and Cherokee counties in northwestern South Carolina, with approximately 2,750 access lines.
Chesnee LD provides resold inter-exchange telecommunications services to Chesnee Telephone customers, and received authority from this Commission on October 13, 1999, to provide global or limited global resale service.
Chesnee Cable, Inc., formerly known as Chesnee Communications, Inc., provides digital cable television services in Cherokee and Spartanburg counties in South Carolina. Chesnee Digital, Inc. was created to provide Internet service in Cherokee and Spartanburg counties to Chesnee Telephone Company’s customers.
SkyLine TMC, and its subsidiary SkyBest Communications, are experienced in the provision of rural telecommunications services and, to date, have had an excellent record of serving their North Carolina customers.
Effects of the Acquisition
Loretto Telecom will continue to exist and will provide service to their customers at the same rates, terms and conditions. The transition will be transparent to Loretto Telecom customers, who will experience no disruption of service nor apparent change in service, as a result of the transaction.
First and foremost, the acquisition will not adversely affect subscribers and will continue to serve the public interest. Also Loretto Telecom, as it has so fervently in the past, will continue to contribute to the local community. And, most importantly, the local employee base will continue to provide excellent telecommunications services to customers.
Loretto Telecom’s President and CEO, Desda Passarella Hutchins, states, “Ms. Louise Brown, Chairman of the Board, and our Family have always treasured our legacy in providing premiere telecommunications services, and have selected an excellent Company in SkyBest Communications, to transfer the legacy obligations that our Family has always held dear.”
Jimmy Blevins, SkyBest’s CEO, affirms the future of Loretto Telecom, “Our cooperative and subsidiaries have enjoyed a long history of operating a state-of-the-art network, providing the very latest telecommunications and exceptional customer service, and investing in our communities, and we commit to continue this tradition of excellence for Loretto Telecom customers in the years to come.”