One Equity Partners has invested $100 million into Open Range Communications, a Greenwood Village, Colo.-based provider of wireless broadband services to rural communities. The financing fulfills a requirement that will allow Open Range to tap a $267 million broadband access loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Open Range Communications, a wireless broadband services provider to rural America, today announced an investment of $100 million from One Equity Partners (OEP), the private equity arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM). In March 2008, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Utilities Program (RDUP) approved a $267 million Broadband Access Loan for Open Range, with the prerequisite that private financing also be secured. The OEP investment satisfies the RDUP’s loan terms, making the funds available to Open Range.
Open Range’s Broadband Rollout
The funding enables Open Range to launch affordable high-speed broadband Internet and voice services to more than six million citizens in 546 underserved and rural communities, using WiMAX technology, within five years. Open Range will lease mobile satellite spectrum from Globalstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: GSAT) under Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) authority granted by the Federal Communications Commission in October 2008.
“The timing of our initiative couldn’t be better,” said Bill Beans, Jr., Chairman, CEO and Founder of Open Range. “The success of this financing is a testament to the powerful opportunity offered by the promise of WiMAX technology, the strength of my team and our resolve to execute on the plan for wireless broadband in rural America. We consider this a brilliant achievement in what is clearly one of the most challenging financing markets in recent history. The Open Range project demonstrates the forethought and vision of our partners at One Equity Partners and the USDA’s Rural Development team.”
“Open Range’s approach to rural broadband deployment is both innovative and strategic. We believe that delivering broadband Internet access to underserved communities meets a critical need at a critical time in the United States,” said David Walsh, Managing Director of One Equity Partners. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Bill and his team.”
No Manual Required
Open Range’s services require no home installation, no awkward and unsightly rooftop antennae, no technicians and simple plug-in hardware setup to initiate service. Customers simply connect an Open Range Simply Easier(sm) device to a desktop or laptop computer for instant, portable, dependable and low-cost access to the Internet. In most communities network equipment will be located on existing towers.
Open Range’s WiMAX service also lends itself to a variety of innovative public safety and commercial applications, including municipal traffic control and automatic meter reading.
Partners on the Range
In late 2007, Open Range signed an agreement with Globalstar, Inc. allowing it to deploy wireless broadband service in rural communities using Globalstar’s Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) authority. The agreement contemplates using the Globalstar spectrum to offer dual mode wireless broadband services to more than 500 communities that do not have adequate access to broadband voice and Internet services.
RBC Daniels, a division of RBC Capital Markets Corporation, served as financial advisor to Open Range in the arrangement of its funding and the formation of its spectrum partnership with Globalstar. Specializing in financial services to the cable, telecommunications, media and technology industries worldwide, RBC Daniels assists clients with mergers and acquisitions, public and private equity and debt financings, and financial advisory engagements.
About One Equity Partners
Established in 2001, One Equity Partners manages $8 billion of investments and commitments for JPMorgan Chase & Co. in direct private equity transactions. Partnering with management, One Equity Partners invests in transactions that initiate strategic and operational changes in businesses to create long-term value. One Equity Partners’ investment professionals are located across North America, Europe and Asia, with offices in New York, Chicago, Menlo Park, Frankfurt and Hong Kong. In recent years, One Equity Partners has invested approximately $3.5 billion to acquire over thirty companies in a variety of industries including defense, chemicals, healthcare, technology and manufacturing. Visit www.oneequity.com for more information.
About Open Range
Open Range is a broadband wireless provider using WiMAX technology to deliver wireless broadband to un-served and underserved rural American communities. Open Range plans to deliver portable and eventually mobile voice and Internet services to customers within its robust WiMAX footprint. Within the next five years, Open Range intends to serve 546 communities, making its services initially available to approximately six million people. Open Range’s wireless broadband network solution will connect customers through licensed spectrum, enabling communities to improve safety, economic growth, education, and quality of life and to remain competitive in the age of constant communications. For more information, visit www.openrangecomm.com.