Suddenlink To Buy NPG Cable

Suddenlink Communications said Monday it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase NPG Cable, a Missouri-based MSO with about 83,000 basic video customers, for $350 million.
NPG Cable is part of News-Press Gazette, a family-owned operation that controls newspapers in Kansas and Missouri and broadcast television stations in Colorado, Texas, California, Arizona and Oregon. Its cable systems have 83,000 basic customers (and about 210,000 revenue generating units) in St. Joseph, Mo.; Mammoth Lakes, Calif.; and several, clustered Arizona communities, including Flagstaff and Sedona, Lake Havasu and Kingman.
Back in October, News-Press Gazette hired Denver-based cable and telecommunications investment banker RBC Daniels & Associates to e valuate its strategic alternatives, including a possible sale. RBC Daniels is acting as the exclusive financial adviser to NPG in the transaction. Attorneys with Seyfarth Shaw LLP are representing Suddenlink in the transaction. Suddenlink expects to close the deal in the first quarter of 2011.
The deal makes sense for Suddenlink, which has several properties near to NPG systems, including operations in Maryville, Mo.; and Bishop, Calif.; which are close to NPG properties in St. Joseph and Mammoth Lakes. Suddenlink said in a statement that there is an opportunity to interconnect those properties after the deal closes.
"This acquisition is a solid fit with our existing operations and we have a proven track record of serving similar communities," Suddenlink chairman and CEO Jerry Kent said in a statement. "We have great respect for NPG and its owners, the Bradley family, and look forward to working with them on the transition."
NPG Cable was founded in St. Joseph in 1965 by the Bradley family. Back in October the family decided to test the deal waters for its cable systems - its newspapers and TV stations are not for sale - and set preliminary information to about 35 interested parties. The NPG deal would be the fourth small market cable operator to hit the auction block in about five months.
In October West Point, Ga.-based overbuilder Knology completed its purchase of Sunflower Broadband for about $165 million. That came after Shenandoah Telecommunications' August purchase of Jet Broadband for $148 million and Cablevision Systems' June announcement that it would purchase Bresnan Communications for about $1.365 billion.
"The foundation of our success at NPG Cable for the last 45 years has been our family culture, where employees approach their daily work and make decisions as if they own the company," NPG's Chief Administrative Officer Brian Bradley in a statement. "We are thrilled that Suddenlink, which has a great reputation, shares a similar culture."
Based in St.Louis, Suddenlink is the seventh largest MSO in the country with about 1.3 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and elsewhere.