Mattoon, Ill. – May 23 2016 — Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSL) (“Company”) has entered into a definitive agreement with Mutual Telephone Company of Sioux Center, Iowa (Premier) and Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association (Winnebago) to divest its Heartland Telecommunications Company of Iowa (Heartland) in order for the Company to focus on its core regions.
“Both Premier and Winnebago are uniquely positioned to provide exceptional service to customers in the rural areas of northwest Iowa,” said Bob Udell, president and chief executive officer of Consolidated Communications. “We expect this transaction will benefit customers, who can count on continued high levels of service and investment in their community from Premier and Winnebago.”
Premier will acquire the Iowa exchanges of: Akron, Boyden, Doon, Hawarden, Hull, Ireton, Rock Rapids, Rock Valley and Sibley. Winnebago will acquire the Iowa exchanges of Bancroft and Lakota.
“Premier has been, and always will be, committed to offering exceptional voice, video and data services to our customers,” said Doug Boone, chief executive officer of Premier. “The addition of these nine exchanges is a natural fit to our existing service territory and we pledge to serve these new customers with the same cutting-edge technology and great customer service that Premier is known for.”
“This acquisition is a positive development for Bancroft and Lakota customers and our customer-owned company which will bring a cooperative’s dedication to serving its customers and providing important benefits to the communities,” said Mark Thoma, general Manager of Winnebago. “We look forward to serving the customers of Bancroft and Lakota who will become members of our cooperative, with the rights and privileges of owners.”
The Company’s Heartland operation contributed approximately $7.0 million of revenue in fiscal 2015. The agreement is an all cash transaction valued at approximately $22.5 million, subject to certain contractual adjustments. The closing is subject to customary regulatory approvals, which are expected to be completed in the second half of 2016.
Charlesmead Advisors, LLC, served as exclusive advisor to Premier and Winnebago on the transaction.
About Consolidated Communications
Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc. is a leading broadband and business communications provider throughout its 11-state service area. The company leverages its advanced fiber optic network and multiple data centers to offer a wide range of communications solutions, including data, voice, video, managed services, cloud computing and wireless backhaul. Headquartered in Mattoon, Ill., the Company has been providing services in many of its markets for more than a century. Learn more at consolidated.com.
About Premier Communications
Premier Communications is the leading provider of voice, video and data services in Northwest Iowa. With headquarters in Sioux Center, IA and offices in Sanborn, IA and Le Mars, IA, Premier Communications provides 22 communities with local and long distance digital telephone service, high-speed Internet, cable television programming and iWireless cellular service. For more information visit www.mypremieronline.com.
About Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association
WCTA is a telecommunications company headquartered in Lake Mills, Iowa. Since the Cooperative’s inception in 1950, more than 70 companies have merged into WCTA. Today, WCTA utilizes the latest digital switching and fiber optic technologies to deliver advanced telecommunications service, Internet access, digital TV service, wireless service, computer and data back-up services and long distance service to 25 communities in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. WCTA strives to be an important part of each and every community we serve. As a cooperative, WCTA is owned and governed by its members and a member-elected Board of Directors.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) encourages companies to disclose forward-looking information so that investors can better understand a company’s future prospects and make informed investment decisions. Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements reflect, among other things, our current expectations, plans, strategies, and anticipated financial results. There are a number of risks, uncertainties, and conditions that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include a number of factors related to our business, including economic and financial market conditions generally and economic conditions in our service areas; various risks to shareholders of not receiving dividends and risks to our ability to pursue growth opportunities if we continue to pay dividends according to the current dividend policy; various risks to the price and volatility of our common stock; changes in the valuation of pension plan assets; the substantial amount of debt and our ability to repay or refinance it or incur additional debt in the future; our need for a significant amount of cash to service and repay the debt and to pay dividends on the common stock; restrictions contained in our debt agreements that limit the discretion of management in operating the business; regulatory changes, including changes to subsidies, rapid development and introduction of new technologies and intense competition in the telecommunications industry; risks associated with our possible pursuit of acquisitions; system failures; losses of large customers or government contracts; risks associated with the rights-of-way for the network; disruptions in the relationship with third party vendors; losses of key management personnel and the inability to attract and retain highly qualified management and personnel in the future; changes in the extensive governmental legislation and regulations governing telecommunications providers and the provision of telecommunications services; telecommunications carriers disputing and/or avoiding their obligations to pay network access charges for use of our network; high costs of regulatory compliance; the competitive impact of legislation and regulatory changes in the telecommunications industry; and liability and compliance costs regarding environmental regulations. A detailed discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from such forward-looking statements are discussed in more detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q. Many of these circumstances are beyond our ability to control or predict. Moreover, forward-looking statements necessarily involve assumptions on our part. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “project,” “intend,” “plan,” “should,” “may,” “will,” “would,” “will be,” “will continue” or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements of Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiaries to be different from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements that appear throughout this press release. Furthermore, forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Except as required under the federal securities laws or the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission, we disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.