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Block Agrees to Buy Harron Systems

Block Communications has agreed to purchase cable systems in Mississippi and Alabama from Harron Communications. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The systems, which operate under the MetroCast name, pass about 100,000 homes and serve about 61,000 primary service units in northern and central Mississippi, including Oxford and Starkville, and Alabama.

The transaction, financial terms of which were not disclosed, is expected to conclude in the fourth quarter of 2014, following the satisfaction of regulatory requirements and other customary closing conditions.

“This acquisition supports our cable and broadband growth strategy and enhances our geographic diversification,” said Block Communications chairman Allan Block in a statement.  “Harron has invested a significant amount of capital over the last five years to upgrade the systems and we believe there is now a tremendous opportunity to increase penetration levels.  We look forward to serving these communities and continuing to improve the services and products being offered.”

Block is the parent of Buckeye CableSystem, which provides service in Toledo and Erie County, Ohio. Block also owns newspapers  -- the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh, Pa., and The Blade in Toledo, Ohio – and owns and operates television broadcast stations in Louisville, Ky.; Decatur, Ill.; Lima, Ohio; and Boise, Idaho.

“We couldn't be more pleased to have another family-owned, customer-oriented company who has enjoyed a long history in the communications industry like Block Communications acquire our Mississippi systems,” said Harron Communications chairman and CEO James J. Bruder, Jr., in a statement. “Block Communications’ commitment to its customers, employees and the communities it serves, makes us confident that the transition of ownership will be seamless for our customers.”

Moorgate Partners served as exclusive M&A advisor and Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Cinnamon Mueller LLC served as legal counsel to Block Communications.  RBC Capital Markets served as exclusive M&A advisor and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP served as legal counsel to Harron Communications.