NS: Seaside Communications sale finalized

Staff ~ The Cape Breton Post
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Oceanside Communication Holdings Inc., a Sydney-based group with experience in cable television and high-speed internet service, has purchased the business.

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[SYDNEY, NS] — Oceanside Communication Holdings Inc., a Sydney-based group with experience in cable television and high-speed internet service, has purchased Seaside Communications Inc.

Established in 1975, Seaside Communications provides cable TV, telephone, and high-speed Internet service to more than 11,000 customers in Glace Bay, New Waterford, Baddeck, Dominion, Donkin, L’Ardoise, Louisbourg, Main-a-Dieu, Marion Bridge, Morien, Mira, Lingan, Reserve, and St. Peter’s.

Seaside Wireless Communications, established in 2008, is a provider of wireless high-speed Internet service in rural Nova Scotia. It serves nearly 10,000 customers in rural parts of Halifax, Cumberland, Colchester, Pictou, Antigonish, Guysborough, Inverness, Victoria, Richmond, and Cape Breton Counties under the province’s broadband for rural Nova Scotia program.

The two companies together employ more than 100 people throughout Northern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton.

“The sale means these jobs will stay in Nova Scotia,” Marty Chernin, leader of the buying group, said in a news release. “We know that was terribly important to Irving Schwartz, and of course it is equally important to the company’s employees and customers.”

Schwartz, a New Waterford native and noted businessman, community leader, and humanitarian, died in 2010.

Because of financial contributions under the broadband project, which subsidized construction of the wireless network in rural areas too thinly settled for commercial Internet service, the sale required provincial government approval. As part of the purchase, Oceanside will provide the province with additional security and an accelerated loan repayment schedule.

In 2011, Seaside received approval for $16.4 million in repayable loans of which $11 million remains outstanding. The sale price was not disclosed.

The new owners plan to invest in improving network capacity and product offerings in both the cable and wireless divisions.

“Compared to the giant telecoms people are used to dealing with, we are a small, local company, and that gives us a tremendous advantage in dealing with customers,” said Loran Tweedie, who becomes chief executive officer of Seaside. “We are closer to our customers in every way, which helps us give better service and better value.”

Chernin will serve as president of Seaside, and Craig Tweedie will oversee all capital expenditure and construction projects. Brothers Loran and Craig are sons of the late Hugh Tweedie, who was instrumental in negotiating the sale before his death earlier this year. David Horton, who was president of Seaside, will continue as chief operating officer.

Organizations: Seaside Communications, Oceanside Communication Holdings, Wireless Communications

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, New Waterford, Cape Breton Glace Bay Main-a-Dieu Halifax Colchester Inverness Victoria Richmond Northern Nova Scotia Oceanside

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