Cable One Forms Clearwave Fiber Via Three-Way Partnership with GTCR, Stephens and Pritzker

Partnership to drive the expansion of fiber broadband networks to rural and underserved markets.

  • Cable ONE

 

PHOENIX & CHICAGO--Cable One has entered into a joint venture with affiliates of GTCR, Stephens Capital Partners, The Pritzker Organization, and certain members of the management team for the venture to support the accelerated growth of Clearwave Fiber. Clearwave Fiber is a newly formed entity that holds Cable One’s subsidiary Clearwave Communications and certain fiber assets of Cable One’s subsidiary Hargray Communications. With the formation of the joint venture, Clearwave Fiber intends to invest heavily in bringing Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) service to residential and business customers across its existing footprint and near-adjacent areas.

The joint venture reflects a shared commitment from Cable One and the Investors to provide fast and reliable connectivity via FTTP internet to underserved markets and will allow for more rapid expansion of fiber internet to homes and businesses in small cities and big towns. Cable One owns a majority of Clearwave Fiber and the Investors are committed to make substantial cash investments to support the acceleration of Clearwave Fiber’s expansion.

Clearwave Fiber will be led by Executive Chairman Michael Gottdenker and CEO David Armistead, both of whom were part of Hargray’s executive leadership team from 2007 until its 2021 sale to Cable One, providing continuity of proven leadership and a continued commitment to Cable One’s shared culture, purpose, and values.

“This strategic investment will help accelerate the deployment of fiber-based broadband services to a range of markets, including underserved areas of the country,” said Michael Gottdenker, Executive Chairman of Clearwave Fiber. “Our team is motivated by our shared core values of customer service and improving lives through connectivity and is excited to bring fast and reliable Clearwave Fiber broadband to homes and businesses across the country. We are thrilled to welcome GTCR, Stephens, and TPO to the Clearwave Fiber family and look forward to our continued partnership with Cable One.”

“We look forward to supporting and sharing in Clearwave Fiber’s growth over the coming years while remaining focused on our primary business, increasing penetration rates, integrating recently acquired companies and driving higher margins and greater free cash flow,” said Julie Laulis, Cable One President and CEO. “We did not take lightly our choice of partners in this transaction and are excited to be working with like-minded individuals who share our core principles.”

The Investors will make substantial cash investments to finance Clearwave Fiber’s expansion and will be represented on the Board of Directors for the venture and have certain governance rights. Cable One will receive no cash proceeds from the transaction and will own a majority of Clearwave Fiber. The operations contributed to the joint venture by Cable One represent approximately 3% of Cable One’s consolidated revenues for the three months ended September 30, 2021.

Bank Street Group acted as lead financial advisor to Cable One, and Ernst & Young advised on the financial and operational carve-out of Clearwave Fiber. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP acted as legal advisors to Cable One. Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and Covington & Burling LLP acted as legal advisors to the Investors on this transaction.

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