Private equity firm GTCR and Rural Broadband Investments are wasting no time in pursuing their plan to acquire rural cable systems. Less than a month after announcing their first acquisition, the companies late yesterday revealed they had purchased cable service provider Cable Management Associates.
According to GTCR and RBI, CMA passes approximately 120,000 homes in rural Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Nevada. CMA was acquired from Etan Industries, which, according to Yahoo, also provides debt collection services for the cable television industry. Both Etan Industries and CMA keep a low profile — Telecompetitor was not able to find much information about either of them on the Internet.
In mid-May GTCR and RBI acquired NewWave Communications, the 22nd largest U.S. cable company. That company had deployed DOCSIS 3.0 and had fiber tying networks together in multiple markets. Yesterday’s GTCR and RBI announcement doesn’t provide details about the CMA network. But it seems unlikely that the network is advanced as that of NewWave because the purchasers noted that they plan to invest in CMA in order to provide customers with “state of the art high-speed Internet, video and voice services.”
Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt is an advisor to GTCR and when Telecompetitor spoke with him at the time of the NewWave purchase he said GTCR and RBI see strong potential in rural cable companies, viewing them as the best platform for delivering emerging high-speed applications such as online learning to rural areas. Hundt also said GTCR and RBI are not in a hurry to cash out on their investment in cable companies and that the investors would consider purchasing companies that are reasonably priced and have “an opportunity to grow.”
According to yesterday’s release, RBI’s goal is to build a platform of 300,000 to 400,000 cable subscribers in small-to mid-size rural markets.