Crestview Partners to Invest $125 Million in Cable Provider WideOpenWest

Friday, Dec 11, 2015

Crestview Partners plans to invest $125 million into WideOpenWest, a cable operator that serves some 782,000 customers in the U.S. South and Midwest, according to people familiar with the matter.

The New York-based private-equity firm also will acquire a stake in the company from current owner Avista Capital Partners, the people said. That purchase, along with the $125 million investment, will leave Crestview with a 35% stake in WideOpenWest, one of the people said.

The deal values Englewood, Colo.-based WideOpenWest at nearly $4 billion, including debt, some of the people said. As part of the deal, Crestview partner and cable-industry veteran Jeff Marcus will become chairman of WideOpenWest, the people added. The deal is likely to be announced Friday, they said.

The deal comes amid a wave of interest in the U.S. cable landscape, following a series of mergers announced over the past year and the arrival of European telecom firm Altice NV. Altice has made no secret of its desire to buy more cable companies in the U.S., having struck deals to buy Suddenlink Communications and Cablevision Systems Corp. this year.

WideOpenWest was founded in 1996 and delivers cable TV, Internet and phone service in places including Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota and Iowa, according to the company’s website. Avista agreed to buy the company in 2005 for roughly $800 million, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

The cable operator, the ninth-largest by subscribers in the U.S., is one of the few that competes for customers against other cable companies like Comcast Corp. Most cable companies stick to offering service within their own exclusive territories.

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