TDS Broadband Buys Continuum

$80M price tag for small North Carolina municipal operator
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TDS Broadband Service, a subsidiary of Telephone & Data Systems, said it has purchased the cable, broadband and business assets of former municipal broadband operator Continuum for $80 million.

Headquartered in Mooresville, N.C., Continuum passes about 36,500 households and has 70 employees. TDS said Continuum employees were offered positions and will continue to support customers locally as part of TDS.

“We welcome the employees of Continuum to the TDS family. They are now part of an exciting journey to expand and improve broadband availability in North Carolina,” said TDS Telecom president and CEO, Jim Butman in a press release. “TDS is a strong, community-minded company. We believe in investing for the long run and work to provide the absolute best in broadband, TV and phone services for our customers.”

TDS first announced the deal in August. Continuum was owned by the municipalities of Mooresville and Davidson and any sale required that the transaction be approved by voters in the communities. The referendum approving the deal was passed in November, the companies said, adding that all other regulatory requirements have been met.

Continuum, which provides service to the municipalities of Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville, will continue to operate under that name at least for the time being.

“We are not in a hurry to change the name. We want to get to know the community and grow with the needs of the area,” Butman said in the release.

RBC Capital Markets served as the exclusive M&A advisor to Continuum.

The municipal system was formed in 2007 and operated under the name MI-Connection (it switched to Continuum in 2017), after the towns purchased the cable assets serving the community from bankrupt Adelphia Communications for about $80 million. While the service has been successful -- it had revenue of about $21 million in fiscal 2018 -- according to the Mooresville Tribune, the towns found it an increasing burden to pay the debt associated with the systems. 

The towns began looking for a buyer in March, fielding six offers by April and selecting TDS as the winner in July, the paper said. 

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