Cable One has gained some new investors through a complex deal that involves the creation of a joint venture to be known as Clearwave Fiber.
Cable One will own the majority of the joint venture, which will include Cable One’s Clearwave Communications subsidiary and “certain fiber assets” of Cable One’s Hargray Communications subsidiary. Also participating in the joint venture are affiliates of cable broadband consolidator GTCR, Stephens Capital Partners, The Pritzker Organization and “certain members” of the joint venture’s management team.
The joint venture plans to “invest heavily” in fiber broadband within its footprint and “near-adjacent areas.”
Clearwave Communications operates in southern Illinois and was acquired by Cable One in 2018. Hargray operates in parts of Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina and was acquired by Cable One in 2021.
The properties that Cable One is contributing to the joint venture represented approximately 3% of the company’s consolidated revenues as of the third quarter of 2021, according to a press release.
Clearwave Fiber will be led by former members of Hargray’s leadership team.
A History with Cable One
Cable One has crossed paths with at least two of the Clearwave Fiber investors in recent years.
Stephens Capital Partners was one of the former owners of Clearwave Communications. And in 2020, Cable One bought a 45% stake in Mega Broadband Investment Holdings from GTCR LLC in a deal that called for Cable One to have the right to buy the remainder of MBI beginning in 2023.
Despite the word “Cable” in its name, Cable One has become increasingly focused on broadband in recent years and has downplayed its video business. The company has been expanding, in large part, through acquisitions of other broadband providers and has made some partial acquisitions.
Initially the company purchased only 15% of Hargray but purchased the remainder the following year.
And in addition to buying a portion of MBI, Cable One owns a portion of two companies that were among the largest winners of rural broadband funding in the Connect America Fund auction – Nextlink and Wisper ISP. Both of those companies rely, in large part, on fixed wireless.