RBI Plates New Wave Acquisition

Sale Could Be First Of Many For Private Equity-Backed Firm
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Rural Broadband Investments, a new player in the cable space backed by private equity group GTCR, made the first of what it hopes are many small cable buys with its deal to acquire New Wave Communications, a rural MSO owned by Pamlico Capital.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but people in the cable financial community said New Wave, with about 90,000 customers in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Arkansas, is estimated to be worth about $300 million.

RBI is headed by former Everest Broadband CEO Phil Spencer and in a statement, the company said the New Wave deal is the first in a series of acquisitions it hopes to make. RBI hopes to eventually grow to between 300,000 and 400,000 subscribers in small and mid—sized markets across the country.

“The acquisition of NewWave Communications is a great first step and provides us with an excellent platform to build upon,” Spencer said in a statement.. “NewWave has done an outstanding job upgrading its network, moving to DOCSIS 3.0 and constructing fiber to tie their markets together. These efforts give us an outstanding platform to roll out enhanced video, voice and high-speed internet services as well as advanced commercial services. In addition, NewWave has an outstanding employee base and we plan to continue to build on the great work they have done over the last several years.”

GTCR managing director Phil Canfield said the private equity fund has been evaluating several opportunities in the cable industry.

 “The NewWave acquisition is an exciting opportunity and the ideal starting point from which to build our investment in the industry,” Canfield said in a statement. “We look to build a leading cable platform through increasing high-speed data penetration, growth in commercial services and accretive acquisitions."

Waller Capital Partners served as an adviser to Rural Broadband Investments and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey was financial adviser to GTCR.