GTCR, a leading private equity firm, announced that a definitive agreement has been signed to sell Rural Broadband Investments (RBI) to Cable One, Inc., a publicly traded cable service provider serving more than 650,000 customers in 19 states, for $735 million.
Founded in 2012, RBI is the nation’s 13th largest cable operator by homes passed, providing triple-play video, high-speed data and voice services to over 150,000 residential and commercial customers throughout rural areas of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Missouri and Louisiana.
GTCR executed its Leaders Strategy™ to form RBI in 2012 through its partnership with veteran cable executives, Phil Spencer, Rod Siemers and Ken Johnson. RBI's investment thesis was to acquire incumbent cable systems in small and midsized communities in order to become the leading broadband provider in these markets. Together, GTCR and RBI acquired NewWave Communications in April 2013 as the platform investment, and subsequently completed five add-on acquisitions.
"We want to thank Phil, Rod and Ken for their partnership. Under their leadership, RBI was able to execute on our collective investment thesis of building a scale incumbent cable provider in order to deliver market leading broadband services within the small and mid-sized communities we serve," said Phil Canfield, a Managing Director at GTCR. Stephen Jeschke, a Principal at GTCR added, "We are sad to see our partnership come to an end, but incredibly proud of what the team has accomplished."
"We could not have chosen a better partner than GTCR," said Phil Spencer, CEO of RBI. Mr. Spencer added, "It has been an honor to lead RBI and NewWave over the course of the last four years. Our employees have worked tirelessly to deliver on our goal of providing superior broadband services and exceptional customer service within the markets we serve. I am excited about the next chapter for RBI under Cable One's leadership and believe that RBI will continue to deliver great results for its customers under its new ownership."
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017.