Consolidated Gobbles Enventis As Businesses Demand More Sophisticated Services

Two hundred-year-old ILECs – Consolidated Communications and Enventis Corp., the former HickoryTech – are merging.

The deal comes as legacy operators must keep up with rising demands for connectivity not only from consumers, but from businesses implementing cloud services, deploying Wi-Fi hotspots and funneling high-bandwidth video through their pipes. Indeed, Enventis says its business and broadband services now generate 80 percent of overall revenue. In fact, the company just last week unveiled its cloud services, along with an upgraded UC platform.

Both companies’ boards have agreed that Consolidated will buy all shares of Enventis in a deal worth $350 million in stock, and $123 million of debt. Together, Consolidated and HickoryTech, which is headquartered in Minnesota, will cover 11 states and generate almost $800 million in revenue. Enventis brings a fiber network of 4,200 route miles to its new owner, as well as 500 employees.

However, Consolidated would not say whether layoffs will accompany the transaction. Jennifer Spaude, an Enventis spokeswoman, told the StarTribune she couldn’t comment on the possibility of job cuts, but she did say there is no territory overlap between the two companies.

Consolidated also bought California’s SureWest in 2012. This latest merger is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

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