GTCR-backed MBI to buy Northland

Mega Broadband Investments LLC, a portfolio company of GTCR, has agreed to acquire Seattle-based Northland Communications, a provider of high-speed data, television and voice services to residential and business subscribers in rural markets in the Southeast, Texas, and the Northwest. No financial terms were disclosed.


CHICAGO, Aug. 29, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — GTCR, a leading private equity firm, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Northland Communications (“Northland”) through GTCR’s portfolio company Mega Broadband Investments LLC (“MBI”), a partnership with CEO Phil Spencer. Founded in 1981, and headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Northland provides high-speed data (“HSD”), television, and voice services to residential and business subscribers in rural markets in the Southeast, Texas, and the Northwest.

The acquisition of Northland is another example of how GTCR executes The Leaders Strategy™. In October 2017, GTCR established its second management start-up with Mr. Spencer to focus on acquiring rural broadband assets. Previously, Mr. Spencer was CEO of Rural Broadband Investments LLC (“RBI”), a GTCR-funded rural cable provider that was acquired in May 2017 by Cable One, Inc. Through organic growth initiatives and five add-on acquisitions, RBI became a scaled cable provider with attractive financial and operational results.

“The acquisition of Northland Communications is a great first step and provides us with an excellent platform to build upon,” said Mr. Spencer, CEO of MBI. “Northland has laid the groundwork by beginning network upgrades that will give us state-of-the-art infrastructure through which to rollout enhanced high-speed data services to both our residential and commercial customers. Further, Northland has an outstanding employee base, and we plan to continue building upon the excellent work they have done to date while investing tens of millions of incremental dollars into the network over the course of our first year of ownership.”

“We are excited to continue our partnership with two-time GTCR CEO Phil Spencer,” said Phil Canfield, Managing Director at GTCR. “We have evaluated numerous opportunities within the cable industry and believe that Northland represents an exciting platform. John and his team deserve a tremendous amount of credit for building Northland into what it is today and we look forward to carrying on John’s legacy as we continue growing the business both organically and via complementary acquisitions.”

“Along with the rest of my executive team I want to thank all the Northland employees for the success we have had at Northland over the last 37 years,” said John Whetzell, Founder of Northland. “We have enjoyed a tremendous run and I am excited to watch the organization continue to thrive under GTCR’s ownership and Phil’s leadership.”

GTCR and MBI’s investment in Northland will be funded from GTCR Fund XII, a private equity fund raised in 2017 with $5.25 billion of limited partner capital commitments. Kirkland & Ellis LLP provided legal counsel and PricewaterhouseCoopers served as accounting advisor to GTCR. Perkins Coie LLP provided legal counsel to Northland.

About GTCR
Founded in 1980, GTCR is a leading private equity firm focused on investing in growth companies in the Growth Business Services, Technology, Media & Telecommunications, Healthcare and Financial Services & Technology industries. The Chicago-based firm pioneered The Leaders Strategy™ – finding and partnering with management leaders in core domains to identify, acquire and build market-leading companies through transformational acquisitions and organic growth. Since its inception, GTCR has invested more than $15 billion in over 200 companies. For more information, please visit

About Mega Broadband Investments
Mega Broadband Investments was formed in October 2017 as a partnership between Phil Spencer and GTCR. Mega Broadband Investments’ mission is to build a leading broadband provider delivering high speed data, video and voice services to residential and commercial customers. For more information, please contact (312) 953-3305.

About Northland Communications
Northland Communications is a leading provider of communications services. Northland owns and operates smaller-market cable systems in Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Washington. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Northland offers high-speed Internet, digital and high definition television, and voice services to individuals and businesses. For more information, please visit