Telephone and Data Systems Buys Baja Broadband

Publicly traded Telephone and Data Systems is paying $267.5 million for the assets of Baja Broadband, a Alamogordo, New Mexico-based cable company.

Telephone and Data Systems(NYSE: TDS [FREE Stock Trend Analysis]), parent company to TDS Telecommunications Corp. (TDS Telecom), today announced an agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Baja Broadband, LLC (“Baja”), a cable company headquartered in Alamogordo, New Mexico, for a purchase price of, subject to working capital and other adjustments. Baja generated annual revenues of $82.4 million in 2012, and has approximately 285 employees. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013, pending regulatory approvals.

Baja Broadband is a full-service communications company, providing video, high-speed broadband and voice services to residential and commercial customers in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Utah.

“Baja Broadband is a natural extension of our existing businesses, with significant potential to deliver increased returns over time,” said David A. Wittwer, president and CEO, TDS Telecom. “Our strategy is to leverage our expertise and existing platform and technologies to accelerate growth in underserved, high-potential markets. We plan to build on Baja’s solid customer base and upgraded network to increase penetration and revenues with new services and products and outstanding customer experiences. And our experience with commercial customers will enable us to target new services and products to this fast-growing sector in Baja’s service areas.”

As of Dec. 31, 2012, Baja passed approximately 212,000 homes, with approximately 74,000 video subscribers, 56,000 high-speed broadband subscribers and 15,000 digital voice subscribers. Approximately 96 percent of Baja’s network is equipped to deliver high-speed, high-capacity broadband and video services.

“Baja’s strong network capabilities will enable us to deliver highly competitive data services, while reducing the need for future capital investment,” added Wittwer.

“Each of our team members has contributed to developing Baja Broadband into a leading communications operator,” said Peter Kahelin, CEO, Baja Broadband. “TDS Telecom’s focus on quality, integrity and outstanding service will enhance our already strong relationships with our customers, our employees and our communities.”

“This acquisition is an important step in our ongoing efforts to build value over the long term,” said LeRoy T. Carlson, Jr., president and CEO, Telephone and Data Systems. “We continue to seek opportunities to invest our resources where we believe they can deliver strong returns over time, and expand into adjacent businesses like cable and hosted and managed services that enable us to leverage our core competencies to support our strategy to grow profitably.”

RBC Capital Markets served as the exclusive M&A advisor to Baja in connection with this transaction. Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP served as legal counsel to Baja.