Private equity firm GTCR says it has agreed to buy rural communications provider Northland Communications via GTCR's portfolio company Mega Broadband Investments LLC (MBI), a partnership with CEO Phil Spencer. Seattle-based Northland provides high-speed data, television, and voice services to residential and business subscribers in rural markets in the U.S. Southeast, Texas, and the Northwest. It owns and operates cable systems in Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington.
"The acquisition of Northland Communications is a great first step and provides us with an excellent platform to build upon," said Spencer. "Northland has laid the groundwork by beginning network upgrades that will give us state-of-the-art infrastructure through which to rollout enhanced high-speed data services to both our residential and commercial customers. Further, Northland has an outstanding employee base, and we plan to continue building upon the excellent work they have done to date while investing tens of millions of incremental dollars into the network over the course of our first year of ownership."
MBI is the second management startup GTCR has created with Spencer to focus on acquiring rural broadband assets. Spencer previously was CEO of Rural Broadband Investments LLC, a GTCR-funded rural cable provider that was acquired in May 2017 by fellow cable systems operator Cable One, Inc.
"We are excited to continue our partnership with two-time GTCR CEO Phil Spencer," said Phil Canfield, managing director at GTCR. "We have evaluated numerous opportunities within the cable industry and believe that Northland represents an exciting platform. John [Whetzell, founder of Northland] and his team deserve a tremendous amount of credit for building Northland into what it is today, and we look forward to carrying on John's legacy as we continue growing the business both organically and via complementary acquisitions."
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