Cincinnati Bell Company Brief

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Company Brief
Cincinnati Bell

by Faulkner Staff

Docid: 00018763

Publication Date: 2108

Report Type: VENDOR


Cincinnati Bell is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is a leading
provider of integrated communications solutions, including local and long
distance voice, data, high-speed Internet and entertainment services for
residential and business customers. The company – which was acquired by a
controlled subsidiary of Australian multinational Macquarie Infrastructure
Partners in 2020 (pending regulatory approval) – currently operates the
leading data transmission and distribution network in Cincinnati and (via
Hawaiian Telcom) Hawaii, encompassing more than 1.3 million homes. Other
services include core fiber broadband, video, and cloud-based for residential
and enterprise customers. This brief examines Cincinnati Bell’s operations
in greater detail.

Report Contents:

Fast Facts

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Name: Cincinnati Bell

221 East 4th Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Tel: (888) 246-2355 [CIN-BELL]
(513) 565-2210

Type of Vendor: Local telephone service provider
Founded: 1873
Service Areas: Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio
Stock Symbol:


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The City and Suburban Telegraph Company, later re-named “Cincinnati Bell Telephone,” was
officially incorporated on July 5, 1873, becoming Cincinnati’s first company to
provide direct communication for the city’s homes and businesses. With
headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cincinnati Bell is a leading provider of
integrated communications solutions, including local and long distance voice,
data, high-speed Internet and entertainment services for residential and
business customers in Greater Cincinnati and Dayton.

Cincinnati Bell owns and operates the leading data transmission and distribution
network in Cincinnati and Hawaii, with a footprint of over 1.3 million
homes. The provider delivers core fiber broadband, video, and voice services to
residential and enterprise customers.

In recent years, three particular transactions have helped to shape Cincinnati

  • First, in 2014, the carrier entered into an agreement to sell its wireless
    spectrum licenses
    and certain other assets related to its wireless business to Verizon Wireless.
    Among those assets were leases to certain wireless towers, related equipment,
    and other assets. Following the official closure of Cincinnati Bell Wireless in
    2015, the company’s retail locations instead began selling Verizon products.
  • With an eye toward its own future, Cincinnati Bell reached separate agreements
    to combine its operations
    with those of Hawaiian Telcom and OnX Enterprise
    Solutions in 2017. Bell reached a $650 million agreement to merge with
    integrated communications services provider Hawaiian Telcom, then signed a definitive agreement to acquire technology
    services and solutions provider OnX Enterprise Solutions for $201 million.
  • In March 2020, Cincinnati Bell backed out of a $2.6 billion merger
    agreement with
    Brookfield Infrastructure in favor of a $2.9 billion bid by Australian
    multinational Macquarie
    Infrastructure Partners (MIP). Cincinnati Bell then paid $25 million to
    Brookfield for breaking their agreement.

In 1874, manufacturer
and philanthropist Andrew Erkenbrecher became the company’s first president. At
the time, the company’s rates were fixed at $300 a year for one line not more than a mile in length.
The company began offering local telephone service in 1878 through a
partnership with Bell Telephone of Boston and became the first telephonic
exchange in Ohio and the tenth in the nation. It also began providing long
distance services in 1879 through a partnership with National Bell,
an early predecessor to AT&T. Over the years, the company went through multiple name
changes, including City and Suburban Telegraph Association (1873), City and
Suburban Telegraph Association and Telephonic Exchange (1878), Cincinnati and
Suburban Bell Telephone (1903), Cincinnati Bell (1971), Broadwing (1999), and
finally back to Cincinnati Bell (2002).

Other milestones include the following:

  • 1999 – Merges with IXC Communications, which operated a nationwide
    fiber-optic network in the US, to form Broadwing.
  • 2002 – Begins a restructuring effort to reduce overall losses related to
    its Broadwing Communications unit … Sells the Bell Directory Business unit and
    changed its name back to Cincinnati Bell.
  • 2003 – Decides to sell off the Broadwing broadband assets and brand name
    in 2003 to C III Communications … Releases next-generation wireless services based
    on GSM/GPRS … Rolls out Wi-Fi services and a HotSpot Partner Program.
  • 2006 – Acquires 20 percent of Cincinnati Bell Wireless …
    Sees Cincinnati Bell
    Technology Solutions (CBTS) acquire the business for Automated Telecom.
  • 2007 – Closes its purchase of Lebanon Telecom.
  • 2008 – Deploys a fixed-mobile convergence service, which was called Smart Home
    Phone, enabling the carrier’s landline customers to send and receive SMS
    messages from their home phone and text messaging to view voice mails … Rolls out Fusion WiFi.
  • 2009 – Sees Mark Lazarus elected as a director … Launches the Cincinnati Bell Online White
    Pages … Acquires Toronto-based Virtual Blocks, which develops virtualization
  • 2010 – Acquires data center operator CyrusOne …
    Reorganizes into
    two business units: Communications and Technology Solutions.
  • 2011 – Launches its 4G network … Reaches an agreement to
    sell its Complete Protection security monitoring unit to Guardian Alarm …
    Realigns management, transferring CFO Gary Wojtaszek to
    of its CyrusOne subsidiary and naming Kurt Freyberger as CFO.
  • 2013 – Sees CyrusOne conclude an IPO.
  • 2014 – Reaches an agreement with Verizon Wireless to sell its
    wireless spectrum licenses and other assets.
  • 2015 – Sees Cincinnati Bell Wireless officially end service.
  • 2016 – Introduces Connected Office Voice, a hosted communications
    service that integrates voice, e-mail, IM and presence, mobility, and
    call-recording services into a single, cloud-based communications system.
  • 2017 – Signs on to merge its operations with those of Hawaiian
    Telcom and OnX Enterprise Solutions.
  • 2018 – Officially closes the acquisition of Hawaiian Telcom to create
    a "stronger communications and technology company."
  • 2019 – Logged fiscal 2018 full-year revenues of $1.4
    billion, with losses of $70 million … Reaches an agreement to be acquired by
    Brookfield Infrastructure for $2.6 billion.
  • 2020 – Backs out of the Brookfield deal in favor of a $2.9 billion
    transaction by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners.
  • 2021 – Announces a $181 million investment to expand its fiber network
    and bring broadband Internet access to tens of thousands of residents and businesses in
    three Northern Kentucky counties.


Cincinnati Bell classifies its products as "Strategic," "Legacy," and
"Integration." The company’s strategy is to "transform … from a legacy
copper-based telecommunications company into a technology company with state of
the art fiber assets servicing customers with data, video, voice, and IT
solutions." It works to leverage past and future investments to create a
"healthy balance sheet, growing revenue, profitability, and sustainable cash
flows." Key initiatives include expanding its local fiber network and growing
its IT services and hardware presence.

The company operates two core segments:

  • Entertainment and Communications
  • IT Sevices and Hardware


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Key Cincinnati Bell leadership team members include:

  • President and CEO – Leigh R. Fox
  • CFO – Andrew R. Kaiser
  • Chief Culture Officer – Christi H. Cornette
  • COO – Thomas E. Simpson
  • Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer – Kevin
    J. Murray
  • Vice President and General Counsel – Christopher J. Wilson
  • President, CBTS – Jeff Lackey
  • President and General Manager, Cincinnati Bell – Jason
    E. Praeter
  • President and GM, Hawaiian Telcom – Su Shin

Major Products

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Table 1 offers an overview of Cincinnati Bell’s business and consumer products and services.

Table 1. Products and Services
Segment Products
Business Internet
  • Fioptics Internet
  • Fioptics Wi-fi
  • Dedicated Internet
  • Enhanced Features
Business Phone
  • Voice Solutions
  • Phone System Express
Business TV
  • Business Channel Lineup
  • Bundles
  • TV
  • Internet
  • Home Phone
  • Premier Internet
  • Energy (electricity and natural gas)
  • Connected Life options

Major Competitors

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The telecom industry is very competitive, with many of Cincinnati Bell’s top rivals
including larger, well-capitalized national providers. Cincinnati Bell’s
Entertainment and Communications segment faces competition from local exchange
carriers; wireless service providers; inter-exchange carriers; and cable,
broadband, and Internet service providers. The company’s strategic products also
face competition from cable operators, other telecom companies, and niche fiber
companies. The Fioptics suite competes with companies that deliver movies, TV
shows, and other video programs over broadband Internet connections. Finally,
Cincinnati Bell’s IT Services and Hardware segment competes against other IT
consulting, Web hosting, and computer system integration companies.

Recent Activity

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In December 2019, Cincinnati Bell reached an agreement to sell off its assets
to Brookfield Infrastructure and its "institutional partners" for $2.6 billion.
The deal was valued at $10.50 per share, and was unanimously approved by
Cincinnati Bell’s Board of Directors. The agreement, in principle, lasted less than three months. In March 2020, Cincinnati Bell received what it considered to be a "superior"
bid of $2.9 billion, or $15.50 per share, by a "controlled subsidiary" of
Macquarie Infrastructure Partners (MIP), and subsequently scrapped the initial
agreement when Brookfield failed to amend the offer. The decision to back out,
coincidentally, cost Cincinnati Bell $25 million in fees. Final regulatory
approval of the deal is expected in the third quarter of 2021.

Cincinnati Bell’s final fiscal year 2020 report showed company revenue up by
two percent to $1.56 billion USD. The Entertainment and Communications division
revenue totaled $970 million, while IT Services and Hardware revenue was
reported at $617 million. Growth was attributed to continued investments in
fiber optic infrastructure and a focus on strategic IT solutions. FTTP
high-speed Internet subscriptions were up 20,700 in Cincinnati and 4,400 in
Hawaii compared to the previous year. The company’s FTTP services is now
available at approximately 500,000 addresses (more than 60 percent) of the
Greater Cincinnati area and 184,300 addresses in Hawaii (38 percent of the

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