Major Telecom Event: Consolidated Communications’ Upcoming Shareholder Vote on Searchlight and BCI Acquisition

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In a historic move, Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc., tracing its roots back to the Lufkin Telephone Exchange, has announced a definitive agreement to be acquired by Searchlight Capital Partners, L.P. and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI) in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $3.1 billion. This pivotal development is poised to reshape the telecommunications landscape in Texas Forest Country and beyond.

“We believe this transaction provides substantial value for our shareholders while also enhancing our flexibility to continue the execution of our fiber expansion strategy,” said Bob Udell, President and CEO of Consolidated Communications. His sentiment echoes a commitment to innovation while honoring a legacy that began as a humble telephone exchange service in Texas Forest Country.

The agreement, which is expected to close by the first quarter of 2025, subject to regulatory approvals, offers a 70% premium to shareholders at $4.70 per share in cash. “This reflects the value of our business, taking into account both the growth opportunities of the Company’s fiber build-out, as well as the potential risks,” noted Robert J. Currey, Chairman of the Consolidated Communications Board and the Special Committee Chair.

For the residents and businesses of Texas Forest Country, this acquisition signals a promise of continued growth and enhanced services. The region, which has relied on Consolidated Communications for reliable connectivity, stands at the cusp of a technological transformation, with the company’s transition to fiber optics set to gain momentum.

Consolidated has navigated a challenging economic environment, marked by higher operating costs and limited financing options. “Several factors recently necessitated that we delay our estimated fiber build completion beyond 2026,” Udell admitted. The acquisition by Searchlight and BCI is seen as a strategic move to mitigate these challenges and ensure the company’s competitive edge.

A letter today to stockholders strongly urged a “FOR” vote in favor of the acquisition. “Consolidated’s transition from copper DSL lines to fiber is competitively critical, and there is significant execution risk, especially given the deteriorating financing and operating environment. We no longer have the liquidity to fund our original growth plan, and time to market is imperative. Those who are first to the market with fiber services will be able to take and maintain a significant market share.”

Upon completion of the transaction, Consolidated Communications will become a private entity, stepping away from the public stock market. This move is seen as a strategic pivot to better manage the dynamic telecom sector’s challenges, especially in a sector-wide shift to fiber optics.

Residents and business owners in Texas Forest Country have expressed a keen interest in the deal, recognizing its potential to enhance connectivity and service quality in the region. “It’s not just about the financials; it’s about ensuring our community stays connected with the best technology available,” shared a local business owner.

As Texas Forest Country Living continues to monitor this unfolding story, the emphasis remains on the impact of this acquisition on our local communities. In the words of Udell, “We believe this continued partnership will create an outstanding outcome for the Company, our customers, and our employees.” The region looks forward to a future of enhanced connectivity, rooted in a legacy of community-focused service.

Lee Miller
Lee Miller was born in Denison, TX and grew up in East Texas with his family. He studied music education at Stephen F. Austin State University taking a job in television on his last day of student teaching. Lee also provides business authoritative expertise to the broadcast industry as a consultant. Presently he is CEO of MSG Resources LLC, which specializes in consulting within broadcast best practices, distribution technologies and media strategy mastery. - - - - - Lee Miller is a well-known veteran of the broadcast media industry with particular experience in leading for-profit and non-profit broadcasting organizations. His career began in Lufkin, Texas in the early 80’s where he progressed from studio operations to creative services and network management. Mr. Miller has since received various professional designations and memberships such as Society of Broadcast Engineers accredited frequency coordinator, The Energy Professionals Association Certified Energy Consultant, and National Religious Broadcasters Television Committee & past Chair. Lee also serves as the Executive Director of the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance, is a member of the Advanced Television Systems Committee and is proud to be part of Texas Association of Broadcasters Golden Mic Club, highlighting extraordinary careers in broadcasting. Continued engagement with his community is at the core of his business practices serving on the board of the Salvation Army and as keyboardist for the contemporary worship band at Harmony Hill Baptist Church. Lee lives near Lufkin Texas on one of his family’s tree farms located in the Texas Forest Country region north of Houston. He is married to Kenla and has two grown children, Joshua, COO of MSGPR Ltd Co and Morgan, a Critical Care ICU RN.

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