For Immediate Release
New York, NY. December 14, 2005 – Avista Capital Partners announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire cable operator WideOpenWest from Oak Hill Capital Partners and ABRY Partners. WideOpenWest operates cable systems in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio and provides cable, high-speed Internet and digital telephone service under the brand name “WOW!” to 114 municipalities reaching over 1.4 million households. Avista Capital, based in New York, is a private equity firm focusing on investment in the media, energy and healthcare sectors.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The sale is expected to close in the first half of 2006. The existing management team will continue to operate the company under the brand name “WOW!” after the close of the transaction. Northwestern Mutual, based in Milwaukee, and Standard Life Investments (USA), headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, have committed to be minority co-investors in the acquisition.
David Burgstahler, a partner of Avista Capital said, “We are extremely pleased to be partnering with WideOpenWest. We believe strongly in the continued future growth of the cable industry. WOW! is a great brand name and a strong strategic fit for Avista. We’re confident in the company’s opportunities for additional growth and enthusiastic about partnering with such an exceptional management team.”
Colleen Abdoulah, president and chief executive officer of WideOpenWest said, “The WOW! team is excited to be working with Avista. The change in company ownership will be transparent to employees and customers. We remain committed to delivering our customers an array of services which meets their needs, at a great value, backed by award winning customer service.”
“WideOpenWest is one of the fastest growing cable television companies in the country and we are delighted to have participated in the value that this management team has created,” said J. Crandall, managing partner of Oak Hill Capital Partners.
“We have enjoyed our successful partnership with the WideOpenWest management team and believe that they will continue to generate industry-leading growth in the future,” said Jay Grossman, managing partner of ABRY Partners.Credit Suisse First Boston and Waller Capital acted as financial advisors to the company in connection with this transaction.