Cable One Buys Fidelity Communications for $525.9M

Cable One said it has agreed to purchase Fidelity Communications for $525.9 million in cash. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

A family-owned cable operator based in Sullivan, Missouri, Fidelity has provided data, voice and video service to about 114,000 residential and 20,000 business customers in Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas for nearly 80 years.

Julie Laulis: Cable One CEO

Julie Laulis: Cable One CEO

“We are thrilled to welcome Fidelity associates and customers to the Cable One family,” said Cable One CEO Julie Laulis in a press release. “Fidelity is a fantastic geographical, cultural and business fit. Its operating philosophy and customer-centric focus are similar to our own. That, coupled with future growth opportunities within or near our existing footprint, make this an exciting acquisition.”

Fidelity has upgraded systems and a high-capacity plant, including more than 5,100 network plant miles and over 1,600 fiber route miles, according to Cable One. More than half of Fidelity’s revenues are derived from residential high-speed data and business services.

“For nearly 80 years, Fidelity has provided a superior customer experience and innovative technologies to residential and business customers in our markets, and I am incredibly proud of our employees and all that we have accomplished together,” said Fidelity president John Colbert in a press release. “We are excited to join an organization that shares our values of community, collaboration and excellence. Cable One is an exceptional business with dedicated and passionate associates and a strong commitment to the communities they serve. We look forward to working with the Cable One team as we bring our two companies together.”

According to Cable One, Fidelity generated about $45 million in cash flow in the fourth quarter of 2018. Based on that cash flow generation, the purchase price represents an 11.7 times multiple, prior to cost synergies, or 7.3 times including about $15 million in cost synergies and $87 million in tax benefits.

Cable One expects to fund the transaction via cash on hand, revolving credit facility capacity and new debt. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP acted as legal advisor to Cable One in the transaction.