GTCR, Mega Broadband Investments Buy Northland

Chicago-based private equity firm GTCR and Mega Broadband Investments said they have agreed to purchase Northland Communications, a voice, video and high-speed data provider to rural market customers in the Southeast, Texas and the Northwest. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

GTCR and MBI first established their partnership in 2017 to purchase rural broadband providers. MBI chief executive Phil Spencer was previously CEO of Rural Broadband Investments, a GTCR-backed rural service provider that acquired several small operators across the country and was sold to Cable One last year.

"The acquisition of Northland Communications is a great first step and provides us with an excellent platform to build upon," Spencer said in a statement. "Northland has laid the groundwork by beginning network upgrades that will give us state-of-the-art infrastructure through which to rollout enhanced high-speed data services to both our residential and commercial customers. Further, Northland has an outstanding employee base, and we plan to continue building upon the excellent work they have done to date while investing tens of millions of incremental dollars into the network over the course of our first year of ownership."

Northland owns and operates smaller-market cable systems in Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Washington.

"Along with the rest of my executive team I want to thank all the Northland employees for the success we have had at Northland over the last 37 years," Northland founder John Whetzell said in a statement. "We have enjoyed a tremendous run and I am excited to watch the organization continue to thrive under GTCR's ownership and Phil's leadership."

GTCR and MBI's investment in Northland will be funded from GTCR Fund XII, a private equity fund with $5.25 billion of limited partner capital commitments. Kirkland & Ellis LLP provided legal counsel and PricewaterhouseCoopers served as accounting advisor to GTCR. Perkins Coie LLP provided legal counsel to Northland.

"We are excited to continue our partnership with two-time GTCR CEO Phil Spencer," GTCR managing director Phil Canfield s aid in a statement. "We have evaluated numerous opportunities within the cable industry and believe that Northland represents an exciting platform. John and his team deserve a tremendous amount of credit for building Northland into what it is today and we look forward to carrying on John's legacy as we continue growing the business both organically and via complementary acquisitions."