negotiationA cable overbuilder that has been quite active on the acquisitions front has taken the uncharacteristic step of divesting some of its cable operations. The company – previously known as Wide Open West but now known as WOW! – said today that it plans to sell its cable systems in Rapid City and Sioux Falls, S.D. to Clarity Telecom.

Missouri based Clarity, founded by several communications industry veterans calls itself a “new platform company in the broadband communications industry.” Also backing the company is Pamlico Capital. Clarity’s management team built up and sold NewWave Communications, another rural focused cable and broadband firm.

In today’s announcement, WOW! CEO Steven Cochran said selling the South Dakota systems will enhance operating efficiencies and “enables us to continue focusing more aggressively on our long-term strategic initiatives.” Although Cochran didn’t provide information about those initiatives, a recent WOW! acquisition suggests the company may be setting its sights on the business market.

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The Clarity Telecom/ WOW! Deal
The properties that Clarity is acquiring have 52,700 customers. On average those customers are taking just over two of WOW!’s triple-play voice, video and broadband services.

Clarity CEO Jim Gleason said in today’s announcement that the South Dakota markets the company is acquiring offer “tremendous opportunity.” He also noted that “communities served in South Dakota, southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa will be the focus of the company and will be the platform to build upon for future acquisitions and growth.”

The Clarity/ WOW! transaction, which requires meeting certain regulatory requirements, is a $262 million cash deal. The companies expect the deal to close in the late third or early fourth quarter of 2014.

Clarity isn’t the only company acquiring cable operations from other companies. Other companies focused on cable industry acquisitions include Vyve (formerly known as BCI Broadband) and Rural Broadband Investments.

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