Rapid Makes Rapid Return to Cable


The growing ranks of former cable executives re-entering the industry grew
bigger when Rapid Communications LLC president Tom Semptimphelter agreed to buy
about 6,500 subscribers in Virginia from NTELOS Inc.

New York-based cable investment bank DH Capital LLC represented NTELOS in the

Terms were not disclosed, but a source familiar with the matter pegged the
sale price at $8 million to $9 million, or about 10 times annualized cash

Rapid was a small player in the 1990s, amassing about 36,000 subscribers in
seven states, including Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The company sold those systems in 2000 and 2001 to Mediacom Communications
Corp., Cox Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp. in a series of deals.

Semptimphelter, former vice president of corporate development at
Tele-Communications Inc., kept one foot in the industry and has been involved in
a few small cable-construction firms since then.

In January, Rapid rejoined the cable-systems business, purchasing about 4,100
subscribers in Clinton, Ind.

"It seemed like there was an opportunity there," Semptimphelter said. "Not a
lot of deals were getting done, and I thought if we could get some deals, we'd
make a pretty nice business."

Rapid plans to expand its cable footprint, but it has no set goal as to how
big it will ultimately get. The company will be opportunistic, Semptimphelter
added, with no set focus on any particular geographic