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Cequel, Kent Get Tower Money

AAT Communications Corp., the communications-tower company managed by Jerry Kent’s Cequel III investment company, has raised about $180 million in equity capital from a group of four investors for future acquisitions and to build additional towers.

AAT raised the money from Charterhouse Group International, Sandler Capital Management, The Oklahoma Publishing Co. and WallerSutton 2000 L.P.

Charterhouse was an early backer of AAT and remains its controlling shareholder with this deal.

"This new investment illustrates the opportunity that equity sources see in AAT as a leading consolidator in the wireless-tower sector," Kent -- who is also AAT’s CEO -- said in a prepared statement. "It also validates our business philosophy of forming and honoring long-term relationships."

Charterhouse was a backer of Kent’s earlier company, St. Louis-based MSO Charter Communications Inc.

Since Cequel III’s appointment as AAT's management company in May 2002, the number of towers AAT owns has increased fivefold (from about 300 to more than 1,500 sites). AAT is also in active negotiations or scheduling construction for several-hundred additional tower sites, according to the company.

In total, AAT's portfolio includes more than 7,500 sites spanning 48 states, counting both properties it owns and those it manages.

TD Securities was the sole advisor to AAT on this transaction and acted as the private placement agent.