Oak Hill to acquire Otelco

Oak Hill Capital has agreed to acquire Otelco Inc for $11.75 per share in cash.

Oak Hill Capital has agreed to acquire Otelco Inc for $11.75 per share in cash. Otelco is a wireline telecommunication services provider in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia


ONEONTA, Ala., July 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Otelco Inc. (Nasdaq: OTEL) (“Otelco” or the “Company”), a wireline telecommunication services provider in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by affiliates formed by Oak Hill Capital (“Oak Hill”), a private equity firm, for $11.75 per share in cash, which represents an equity purchase price of $40.6 million and an enterprise value of $105.6 million. As part of the definitive agreement, Oak Hill will assume or refinance Otelco’s outstanding debt. The consideration represents a 43.3% premium to the unaffected share price of Otelco as of June 23, 2020, a 53.2% premium to the 20-Day Volume Weighted Average Price as of the same date, and a 58.1% premium to Otelco’s average daily closing stock price during the second quarter of 2020.

Otelco’s Board of Directors approved and declared advisable the merger agreement, and Otelco’s Board of Directors recommended the approval and adoption of the merger agreement by the holders of shares of Otelco common stock. A special meeting of Otelco’s shareholders will be held as soon as practicable after the filing of a definitive proxy statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and subsequent mailing to shareholders. The mailing of the proxy statement is expected to take place following the expiration of a 30-day ‘go-shop’ period, during which Otelco is permitted to encourage and solicit alternative proposals from third parties.

The transaction is not subject to financing contingencies and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020. The agreement is subject to Otelco shareholder approval, as well as other regulatory and customary closing conditions. Otelco’s largest shareholders are a group of related entities, which collectively own 49.6% of the Company’s outstanding shares and have agreed to vote in favor of the transaction.

“Like much of the telecommunications industry, Otelco is rapidly deploying technology, including fiber to the premise, to increase internet speeds for our customers,” commented Richard Clark, President and CEO of Otelco. “We have invested in fiber network construction over the last several years in response to the demand for higher bandwidth and have demonstrated our ability to deliver the necessary technology. Oak Hill has invested capital in other telecommunications providers to advance the deployment of the technology needed to support up to one gigabit internet speeds. Oak Hill’s commitment to facilitate Otelco’s growth will allow the Company to accelerate fiber growth plans that would not have been possible within our existing capital structure.”

“This transaction is a good outcome for Otelco’s shareholders, customers and employees. We believe Oak Hill will provide the resources to speed up our network upgrade plan and wish them and the Company continued success,” commented Stephen McCall, Chairman of Otelco’s Board of Directors.

“Otelco has assembled a talented leadership team capable of ramping up their deployment of advanced technology solutions,” said Jennifer Jun, Principal at Oak Hill. “With our experience and capital, we can support Otelco’s mission to serve more customers with increasing broadband speeds. We look forward to working with Richard and the rest of Otelco’s senior management team in executing on Otelco’s next chapter of growth.”

Lazard is serving as financial advisor and Troutman Pepper is serving as legal advisor to Otelco. Paul Weiss is serving as legal counsel to Oak Hill.

Otelco Inc. provides wireline telecommunications services in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia. The Company’s services include local and long distance telephone, digital high-speed data lines, transport services, network access, cable television and other related services. Otelco provides over 67,000 services to more than 33,000 customers, with approximately 10% of those customers served over its Lightwave product. Otelco operates eleven incumbent telephone companies serving rural markets, or rural local exchange carriers. It also provides competitive retail and wholesale communications services and technology consulting, managed services and private/hybrid cloud hosting services through several subsidiaries. For more information, visit the Company’s website at www.Otelco.com.

Oak Hill Capital is a private equity firm managing funds with approximately $15 billion of initial capital commitments and co-investments since inception. Over the past 34 years, Oak Hill Capital and its predecessors have invested in over 90 private equity transactions across broad segments of the U.S. and global economies. Oak Hill Capital applies an industry-focused, theme-based approach to investing in the following sectors: Media & Communications; Services; Industrials; and Consumer, Retail & Distribution. Oak Hill works actively in partnership with management to implement strategic and operational initiatives to create franchise value. For more information, please visit: www.oakhill.com.