Fairpoint gets written approval to buy Verizon’s Maine linesMaine Public Utilities Commission on Friday, February 1, 2008, issued a written order approving FairPoints proposed acquisition of Verizons wireline business in Maine. The PUC had previously agreed to the deal and this latest move formalizes its ruling. It stated that it will reserve the right to re-visit its decision based on what the regulators in Vermont and New Hampshrie ultimately rule.In a joint release at the end of January, FairPoint Communications, Inc and Verizon said they expected transer of ownership of Verizon Communications’ 1.6 million landlines in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine for $2.7 billion to be done by February 29.The Vermont Public Service Department and the staff of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission in January agreed to the deal with conditions, such as on a de facto reduction of the price and on reducing the level of dividends FairPoint will be allowed to pay its shareholders (for updates, www.vermontbiz.com). The Federal Communications Commission also gave its approval in January.The regulators in both Vermont and New Hampshire still need to approve the deals, which are negotiated and approved separately. Meanwhile, Maine regulators already have approved a deal similar to those in Vermont and New Hampshire. Mains PUC, however, said it cold revisit its decision based on the structure of deal in the other two states.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. The financial viability of FairPoint has been a concern of regulators and opponents of the deal, including the IBEW union. FairPoint will have to borrow upwards of $2 billion.The Vermont and New Hampshire agreements mimic the plan previously approved in Maine, 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 consummate the deal and live up to other provisions in the agreement, including extension of DSL service and other service and reliability guarantees.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.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 the final rulings among the three states would have to be dealt with by each state’s regulatory board.
If Man United do pull off the incredible and sign 32-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo then he will be one of Jose Mourinho’s greatest signings. Would you agree with that?Even if they do have to pay £183m, as is being reported, eight years after selling him for £80m and gifting Real Madrid his peak years, it is still a transfer to trump recent big money moves like those involving Gareth Bale, Paul Pogba and Andy Carroll.He is a phenomenon.COULD RONALDO OVERTAKE WAYNE ROONEY AS MAN UNITED RECORD SCORER?And just look at the five best signings Mourinho has made, in the opinion of talkSPORT.com. Here, players have been ranked by how vital they were to both manager and club, and you can see the results by clicking the right arrow, above… 5 5. Mesut Ozil (signed for Real Madrid from Werder Bremen in 2010) – Luka Modric was signed by Mourinho in 2012 and went on to become a vital player for Los Blancos. However, it was Ozil who was crucial to the success enjoyed by Mourinho during his three years in Spain, having been snapped up shortly after his appointment as manager. He quickly settled in and by the time he left for Arsenal three years later had registered 47 LaLiga assists, with his loss lamented by senior Real players. 3. Michael Essien (signed for Chelsea from Lyon in 2005) – “He’s a great man, he is loyal to me, he is loyal to Chelsea, he is loyal to Madrid, he is loyal to everybody,” Jose Mourinho, who signed Essien twice, once said about the midfielder. He was an exemplary Mourinho signing, epitomising everything the manager wanted in a player. The Ghanaian was one of the best defensive midfielders in Europe during his first few seasons at Stamford Bridge and was loved by Chelsea fans, who crowned him their Player of the Year in 2007. And what about that goal he scored against Barcelona? 1. Didier Drogba (signed for Chelsea from Marseille in 2004) – Theres no question as to who tops the list of Mourinhos greatest signings. Paul Pogba may yet move top, or Ronaldo if he decides to go back to Manchester. Drogbas contribution since moving to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2004 was outstanding and the striker is one of the clubs greatest players, having scored 164 times in two spells with the Blues. 5 5 4. Samuel Eto’o (signed for Inter from Barcelona in 2009) – When Zlatan Ibrahimovic moved to Barcelona at the start of the 2009/10 season, not only did Inter pocket 46m, they also got Samuel Eto’o. It proved to be an excellent piece of business. Etoo quickly slotted into the Inter side and was a vital cog in the wheel that secured a Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia treble for Inter. He ended his time with 53 goals before leaving in 2011. His second spell with Mourinho at Chelsea was less successful, but he did bag a hat-trick against Man United and finished with 12 goals in 35 games. 2. Ashley Cole (signed for Chelsea from Arsenal in 2006) – Cole will go down in history as one of the finest left-backs to have graced the Premier League. His move to Stamford Bridge was filled with controversy, but Cole was consistently reliable, exceeding expectations and eventually winning every major trophy possible with Chelsea. It was tough to leave Ricardo Carvalho out, the defender who was signed twice by Mourinho, first at Chelsea then Real Madrid. The centre back slotted in comfortably alongside John Terry and Pepe at both clubs. 5 5