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News | 06/21/2002 4:00 am EDT

Persona Communications continues acquisition spree
Persona Communications Inc. has inked a $550,000-deal to purchase some of the fibre assets of Gateway Telephone Ltd. from an interim receiver, the company formerly known as Regional Cablesystems announced June 13. Persona will acquire over 250 route kilometres of Gateway’s fibre network between Sudbury and North Bay and local loop fibres within the two cities. Persona will also acquire 45 kilometres of 144 and 96-count fibre in Gateway’s inventory that it will use to expand its network in northern Ontario. The acquisition will be funded through the company’s 2002 capital budget (CCR Update, May 29/02). Persona noted that the enhanced fibre optic network will allow it to provide additional cable TV and telecom services. Persona already operates a Class 1 cable system in the Sudbury area. The deal is expected to close by June 30. As well, Persona notes that it is "strategically positioned" to offer digital cable TV, broadband Internet and telecom and data services to many areas around the recently announced Voisey Bay nickel development. Persona operates the cable system in Argentia, the proposed site of the new nickel smelter, and in Goose Bay, which is expected to be the main service centre for the project. On June 17, Persona announced another acquisition, this time in the Quebec market. It inked a $23.4-million agreement for 24 cable systems comprising 20,000 subscribers in Quebec. Persona said it would acquire all outstanding shares of Consortium Cable-Axion Digitel Inc., Cable-Axion Quebec Inc. and Cable-Axion Digitel Inc. for $13 million in cash and $11.8 million in Persona common stock. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. The cable systems run from Quebec City to Montreal, mostly in rural areas.

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