Astound Broadband, parent company of broadband providers RCN, Wave, Grande, and enTouch, has agreed to be sold to Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners (Stonepeak) in what is being characterized as the largest cable broadband transaction in the past 5 years.
The deal values RCN, Wave, Grande, and enTouch at $8.1 billion, including $4.5 billion in debt. RCN, Wave, Grande, and enTouch operate in multiple markets including Chicago, Eastern Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York City, Northern California, Oregon, Texas, Washington, DC., and Washington.
Collectively, RCN, Wave, Grande, and enTouch serve over one million customers and operate over 23,000 miles of fiber, according to a press release announcing the deal. The combined companies operate in 8 of the top 10 markets across the country.
“We have created a market leading broadband platform with national reach, broad capabilities and expertise, and exciting growth potential,” said Jim Holanda, Astound Broadband CEO, in a prepared statement. “We are very eager and excited to partner with a premier investor such as Stonepeak to further accelerate our growth and take our companies to new levels of customer satisfaction and performance. We also want to thank TPG for their great support and partnership over the past four years.”
TPG Capital and Patriot Media Management own Astound Broadband, and the company was formed through acquisitions itself. Like many cable operators, RCN, Wave, and Grande shifted their focus from video to broadband in the past decade.
Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners is an infrastructure-focused private equity firm headquartered in New York with $25.2 billion of assets under management. Private equity is quite active with broadband infrastructure deals.
This is the latest of many deals in which private equity firms are buying fiber-rich, broadband focused service providers, riding a wave of increasing valuations.
Other deals in the past year have included:
- GI Partners agreeing to acquire Vast Broadband
- Wren House Infrastructure Management agreeing to acquire i3 Broadband
- Digital Colony Partners and the EQT Infrastructure IV fund acquiring Zayo Group
- Brookfield Infrastructure agreeing to acquire Cincinnati Bell
- GTCR acquiring Vyve Broadband
- Grain Management acquiring Ritter Communications
Patriot Media will continue its role in managing RCN, Wave, Grande, and enTouch, in partnership with Stonepeak. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.