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Geiger, Other Cbeyond Executives Poised to Rake in the Dough From Birch Merger

By Josh Long
May 19, 2014 - News

**Editor's Note: Please click here for Channel Partners' complete coverage of Birch's pending acquisition of Cbeyond.**

The pending acquisition of Cbeyond Inc. by Birch Communications could line the pockets of Cbeyond management, including its top executive, who stands to receive payment that is double his entire compensation from last year.

A Securities and Exchange Commission filing lists more than $6 million in total compensation for five Cbeyond executives in connection with the merger.

James Geiger, Cbeyond’s chairman, president and CEO, could receive $2.4 million in cash, equity awards and other compensation in connection with the deal, the company disclosed in its preliminary proxy statement. Geiger’s compensation includes pay that is two and one-half times his base salary and an amount equal to his average annual bonus paid over three years. As Channel Partners previously reported, Geiger received annual compensation last year of $1.21 million.

Employment agreements between Cbeyond and its executives grant them compensation if they are terminated other than for “cause" or they resign for “good reason" following a change of control.  According to the May 16 filing, none of Cbeyond’s executives has entered into an agreement with Cbeyond or Birch to remain with the merged company.

If the conditions above are satisfied, Geiger isn’t the only executive who will walk away from the company following the merger with a wad of cash. J. Robert Fugate, executive vice president and chief financial officer, could receive total compensation of $1.39 million, the SEC filing disclosed. That’s slightly more than the comp plan of Christopher Gatch ($1.1 million), executive vice president and chief technical officer. N. Brent Cobb, executive vice president and chief financial officer, could receive $995,031 in total compensation. Finally, former executive Joseph Oesterling could reap $689,335 in connection with the merger, which Cbeyond has asked its shareholders to approve.

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