FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
It is hereby stipulated and agreed by and between the undersigned parties, subject to approval and entry by the Court, that:
As used in this Preservation of Assets Stipulation and Order:
A. "Acquirer" or "Acquirers" means the entity or entities to whom defendants divest the Divestiture Assets.
B. "CMA" means cellular market area which is used by the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") to define cellular license areas and which consists of Metropolitan Statistical Areas ("MSAs") and Rural Service Areas ("RSAs").
C. "Divestiture Assets" means each mobile wireless telecommunications services business to be divested under this Final Judgment, including all types of assets, tangible and intangible, used by defendants in the operation of the mobile wireless telecommunications services businesses to be divested. "Divestiture Assets" shall be construed broadly to accomplish the complete divestiture of the entire business of RCC in each of the following CMA license areas as required by this Final Judgment and to ensure that the divested mobile wireless telecommunications services businesses remain viable, ongoing businesses:
provided that defendants may retain all of the PCS spectrum licenses RCC currently holds in each of these CMAs, except in the Burlington MSA, and equipment that is used only for wireless transmissions over this PCS spectrum. Defendants may also retain the Ericsson AXE 810 switch located in Colchester, VT used to support the GSM mobile wireless telecommunications services currently provided by RCC; the Lucent 5E switch located in Colchester, VT used to support CDMA, TDMA and analog mobile wireless telecommunications services currently provided by RCC; the CDMA, TDMA and analog equipment on the radio tower located at Woodstock (latitude 43.613975, longitude -72.52175) and any associated rights for this equipment to remain on this tower currently owned and held by RCC; and the CDMA equipment located on the radio tower located at Stratton (latitude 43.11344, longitude -72.90691) and any associated rights for this equipment to remain on this tower currently owned and held by RCC. In addition, defendants also (i) may retain in the Burlington MSA, RCC's PCS spectrum license, and (ii) in the Vermont RSA 2-B2 service area, which includes Bennington and Windham counties, and the portion of Windsor county south of U.S. Route 4, may substitute a license for 10 MHz of RCC's cellular spectrum for RCC's 10 MHz PCS spectrum license, if approved by plaintiff United States in its sole discretion, upon consultation with plaintiff Vermont.
The Divestiture Assets shall include, without limitation, all types of real and personal property, monies and financial instruments, equipment, inventory, office furniture, fixed assets and furnishings, supplies and materials, contracts, agreements, leases, commitments, spectrum licenses issued by the FCC and all other licenses, permits and authorizations, operational support systems, cell sites, network infrastructure, switches, customer support and billing systems, interfaces with other service providers, business and customer records and information, customer contracts, customer lists, credit records, accounts, and historic and current business plans which relate primarily to the wireless businesses being divested, as well as any patents, licenses, sub-licenses, trade secrets, know-how, drawings, blueprints, designs, technical and quality specifications and protocols, quality assurance and control procedures, manuals and other technical information defendant RCC supplies to its own employees, customers, suppliers, agents, or licensees, and trademarks, trade names and service marks or other intellectual property, including all intellectual property rights under third-party licenses that are capable of being transferred to the Acquirer(s) either in their entirety, for assets described in (a) below, or through a license obtained through or from RCC, for assets described in (b) below; provided that defendants shall only be required to divest Multi-line Business Customer contracts if the primary business address for that customer is located within any of the six license areas described herein, and further, any subscriber who obtains mobile wireless telecommunications services through any such contract retained by defendants and who are located within the six license areas identified above, shall be given the option to terminate their relationship with defendants, without financial cost, at any time within one year of the closing of the Transaction. Defendants shall provide written notice to these subscribers within 45 days after the closing of the Transaction of the option to terminate.
The divestiture of the Divestiture Assets shall be accomplished by:
D. "Multi-line Business Customer" means a corporate or business customer that contracts with RCC for mobile wireless telecommunications services to provide multiple telephones to its employees or members whose services are provided pursuant to a contract with the corporate or business customer.
E. "RCC" means defendant Rural Cellular Corporation, a Minnesota corporation with its headquarters in Alexandria, Minnesota, its successors and assigns, and its subsidiaries, divisions, groups, affiliates, partnerships and joint ventures, and their directors, officers, managers, agents, and employees.
F. "Transaction" means the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated July 29, 2007.
G. "Verizon" means defendant Verizon Communications Inc., a Delaware corporation, with its headquarters in New York, New York, its successors and assigns, and its subsidiaries, divisions, groups, affiliates, partnerships and joint ventures, and their directors, officers, managers, agents, and employees.
The proposed Final Judgment filed in this case is meant to ensure defendants' prompt divestiture of the Divestiture Assets for the purpose of preserving viable competitors in the provision of mobile wireless telecommunications services in order to remedy the effects that the plaintiffs allege would otherwise result from Verizon's acquisition of RCC. This Preservation of Assets Stipulation and Order ensures, prior to such divestitures, that competition is maintained during the pendency of the ordered divestitures, and that, if the Divestiture Assets are placed in a Management Trust, the Divestiture Assets remain ongoing business concerns and the Divestiture Assets remain economically viable. The Divestiture Assets will remain, as provided herein, preserved, independent and uninfluenced by defendants.
This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action and each of the parties hereto, and venue of this action is proper in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The Complaint states a claim upon which relief may be granted against defendants under Section 7 of the Clayton Act, as amended (15 U.S.C. § 18).
A. The parties stipulate that a proposed Final Judgment in the form attached hereto as Exhibit A may be filed with and entered by the Court, upon the motion of any party or upon the Court's own motion, at any time after compliance with the requirements of the Antitrust Procedures and Penalties Act, 15 U.S.C. § 16, and without further notice to any party or other proceedings, provided that plaintiff United States has not withdrawn its consent, which it may do at any time before the entry of the proposed Final Judgment by serving notice thereof on defendants and by filing that notice with the Court.
B. Defendants shall abide by and comply with the provisions of the proposed Final Judgment, pending the Judgment's entry by the Court, or until expiration of time for all appeals of any Court ruling declining entry of the proposed Final Judgment. Defendants shall, from the date of the signing of this Stipulation by the parties, comply with all the terms and provisions of the proposed Final Judgment as though the same were in full force and effect as an order of the Court.
C. Defendants shall not consummate the Transaction sought to be enjoined by the Complaint herein before (1) the Court has signed this Preservation of Assets Stipulation and Order and (2) one of the following conditions has been met:
D. This Stipulation shall apply with equal force and effect to any amended proposed Final Judgment agreed upon in writing by the parties and submitted to the Court.
E. In the event (1) plaintiff United States has withdrawn its consent, as provided in Section IV.A above, or (2) the proposed Final Judgment is not entered pursuant to this Stipulation, the time has expired for all appeals of any Court ruling declining entry of the proposed Final Judgment, and the Court has not otherwise ordered continued compliance with the terms and provisions of the proposed Final Judgment, then the parties are released from all further obligations under this Stipulation, and the making of this Stipulation shall be without prejudice to any party in this or any other proceeding.
F. Defendants represent that the divestitures ordered in the proposed Final Judgment can and will be made, and that defendants will later raise no claim of mistake, hardship or difficulty of compliance as grounds for asking the Court to modify any of the provisions contained therein.
A. If defendants have not satisfied Section IV.C(2)(b) of this Stipulation when this Stipulation is filed, the Court shall, upon application of plaintiff United States, and with respect to Divestiture Assets located in Vermont upon consultation with plaintiff Vermont, appoint a Management Trustee who will serve as manager of the Divestiture Assets until the Divestiture Assets are sold to an Acquirer(s) or transferred to a Divestiture Trustee pursuant to Section V of the proposed Final Judgment. Nothing in this Stipulation shall be interpreted to prevent the Management Trustee from becoming the Divestiture Trustee pursuant to Section V of the proposed Final Judgment.
B. Prior to the closing of the Transaction, defendants shall enter into a trust agreement with the Management Trustee, subject to the approval of plaintiff United States, and with respect to Divestiture Assets located in Vermont upon consultation with plaintiff Vermont, in its sole discretion, that will grant the rights, powers, and authorities necessary to permit him to perform the duties and responsibilities of the Management Trustee pursuant to this Stipulation. The trust agreement shall enable the Management Trustee, on or before the date of the closing of the Transaction, to assume all rights, powers, and authorities necessary to perform his duties and responsibilities, pursuant to this Stipulation and the proposed Final Judgment and consistent with their purposes. Any appointed Management Trustee shall serve at the cost and expense of defendants, on such terms and conditions as plaintiff United States approves, with a fee arrangement that is reasonable in light of the person's experience and responsibilities.
C. The Management Trustee will have the following powers and responsibilities with respect to the Divestiture Assets:
D. The following limitations shall apply to the Management Trustee:
E. Defendants and the Management Trustee will take all reasonable efforts to preserve the confidentiality of information that is material to the operation of either the Divestiture Assets or defendants' businesses. Defendants' personnel supplying services to the Divestiture Assets pursuant to this Stipulation must retain and maintain the confidentiality of any and all confidential information material to the Divestiture Assets. Except as permitted by this Stipulation and the proposed Final Judgment, such persons shall be prohibited from providing, discussing, exchanging, circulating or otherwise furnishing the confidential information of the Divestiture Assets to or with any person whose employment involves any of defendants' businesses, except as necessary to fulfill the purposes of this Stipulation and the proposed Final Judgment.
F. If in the judgment of the Management Trustee, defendants fail to provide the services listed in Section VI of this Stipulation to the satisfaction of the Management Trustee, upon notification to defendants and approval by plaintiff United States, the Management Trustee may engage third parties unaffiliated with the defendants to provide those services for the Divestiture Assets, at the cost and expense of defendants, provided that defendants may have reasonable access to necessary information to satisfy themselves that after the services have been provided, the Divestiture Assets are in compliance with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations.
G. At the option of the Management Trustee, defendants may also provide other products and services on an arms-length basis, provided that the Management Trustee is not obligated to obtain any other product or service from defendants and may acquire any such products or services from third parties unaffiliated with defendants.
H. If the Management Trustee ceases to act or fails to act diligently and consistently with the purposes of this Stipulation and the proposed Final Judgment, if the Management Trustee proposed by plaintiff United States is not approved by this Court or resigns, or if for any other reason the Management Trustee ceases to serve in his or her capacity as Management Trustee, plaintiff United States, and with respect to Divestiture Assets located in Vermont upon consultation with plaintiff Vermont, may select a substitute Management Trustee. In this event, plaintiff United States will identify to defendants the individual or entity it proposes to select as Management Trustee. Defendants must make any objection to this selection within five (5) business days after the United States notifies defendants of the substitute Management Trustee's selection. Upon application of plaintiff United States, the Court shall approve and appoint a substitute Management Trustee. Within five (5) business days of such appointment, defendants shall enter into a trust agreement with the substitute Management Trustee subject to the approval of plaintiff United States in its sole discretion as described in Section V.B of this Stipulation.
Until the divestitures required by the proposed Final Judgment have been accomplished, except as otherwise approved in advance in writing by plaintiff United States:
A. Defendants and the Management Trustee shall preserve, maintain, and continue to support the Divestiture Assets, take all steps necessary to manage the Divestiture Assets in order to maximize their competitiveness, revenue, profitability and viability and to permit expeditious divestitures in a manner consistent with this Stipulation and the proposed Final Judgment.
B. The Divestiture Assets shall be operated by the Management Trustee as part of an independent, ongoing, economically viable and competitive business to other mobile wireless telecommunications services providers operating in the same license area and operated so that these assets are maintained or increased in value. Defendants and the Management Trustee shall take all steps necessary to ensure that:
C. Defendants shall take no action that would jeopardize, delay, or impede the sale of the Divestiture Assets nor shall defendants take any action that would influence or interfere with the ability of any Divestiture Trustee appointed pursuant to the proposed Final Judgment to operate and manage the Divestiture Assets or to complete the divestitures pursuant to the proposed Final Judgment to an Acquirer(s) acceptable to plaintiff United States, and with respect to Divestiture Assets located in Vermont upon consultation with plaintiff Vermont.
D. Defendants shall provide sufficient working capital and lines and sources of credit as deemed necessary by the Management Trustee to continue to maintain the Divestiture Assets consistent with this Stipulation.
E. Unless otherwise agreed to by plaintiff United States in its sole discretion, defendants shall resolve all outstanding obligations related to the Divestiture Assets including but not limited to agent and employee compensation, vendors and landlords within thirty (30) days of closing the Transaction.
F. Except (1) as recommended by the Management Trustee and approved by plaintiff United States, and with respect to Divestiture Assets located in Vermont upon consultation with plaintiff Vermont, or (2) as part of a divestiture approved by plaintiff United States in accordance with the terms of the proposed Final Judgment, defendants shall not remove, sell, lease, assign, transfer, pledge or otherwise dispose of any of the Divestiture Assets outside the ordinary course of business.
G. The Management Trustee, with defendants' cooperation consistent with this Stipulation and the proposed Final Judgment, shall maintain, in accordance with sound accounting principles, separate, accurate, and complete financial ledgers, books and records that report on a periodic basis, such as the last business day of every month, consistent with past practices, the assets, liabilities, expenses, revenues, and income of the Divestiture Assets.
As part of defendants' cooperation:
H. If a Management Trustee has been appointed by the Court, 15 days prior to the closing of the Transaction, defendants shall identify, by name and title, to the Management Trustee and plaintiff United States, sufficient employees for each of the Divestiture Assets who are familiar with and have had responsibility for the management, operation, marketing, and sales of the Divestiture Assets, to assist the Management Trustee with his duties and responsibilities hereunder. No later than 7 days prior to the closing of the Transaction, upon approval of the Management Trustee and plaintiff United States, defendants shall appoint sufficient employees for each of the Divestiture Assets who are familiar with and have had responsibility for the management, operation, marketing, and sales of the Divestiture Assets, to assist the Management Trustee with his duties and responsibilities hereunder. Defendants may offer a bonus or severance to employees whose primary employment responsibilities relate to the Divestiture Assets, that continue their employment until divestiture (in addition to any other bonus or severance to which the employees would otherwise be entitled).
I. Until the Transaction is consummated, defendant RCC will operate the Divestiture Assets in the same fully competitive manner as its other mobile wireless services businesses and defendant Verizon will not influence or attempt to influence the operation of the Divestiture Assets pending their divestiture. Following consummation of the Transaction, except for employees (1) whose primary employment responsibilities relate to the Divestiture Assets, or (2) who are involved in providing support services to the Divestiture Assets pursuant to Sections V and VI of this Stipulation and Section V of the proposed Final Judgment, defendants shall not permit any other of their employees, officers, agents, or directors to be involved in the operations of the Divestiture Assets, including but not limited to decision making concerning marketing, pricing or sales of mobile wireless telecommunications services generated by the Divestiture Assets.
J. Except as required by law in the course of (1) complying with this Stipulation and the proposed Final Judgment; (2) overseeing compliance with policies and standards concerning the safety, health, and environmental aspects of the operations of the Divestiture Assets and the integrity of their financial controls; (3) defending legal claims, investigations or enforcement actions threatened or brought against the Divestiture Assets; or (4) obtaining legal advice, defendants' employees (excluding employees (a) whose primary employment responsibilities relate to the Divestiture Assets, or (b) who are involved in providing support services to the Divestiture Assets pursuant to Sections V and VI of this Stipulation and Section V of the proposed Final Judgment) shall not receive, or have access to, or use any material confidential information, not in the public domain, of the Divestiture Assets. Defendants may receive aggregate financial information relating to the Divestiture Assets to the extent necessary to allow defendants to prepare the defendants' consolidated financial reports, tax returns, reports required by securities laws, and personnel reports. Any such information that is obtained pursuant to this subparagraph shall be used only for the purposes set forth in this subparagraph.
K. Until the Divestiture Assets are divested to an Acquirer(s) acceptable to plaintiff United States pursuant to the Final Judgment, defendants shall provide to the Divestiture Assets, at no cost, support services needed to maintain the Divestiture Assets in the ordinary course of business, including but not limited to:
VII. DURATION OF ASSET PRESERVATION OBLIGATIONS
Defendants' obligations under this Preservation of Assets Stipulation
and Order shall remain in effect until (1) consummation of the divestitures
required by the proposed Final Judgment or (2) until further order of
the Court. If the United States voluntarily dismisses the Complaint
in this matter, Defendants are released from all further obligations
under this Preservation of Assets Stipulation and Order.
IT IS SO ORDERED by the Court, this day of , 2008.