Private-equity firm Searchlight Capital Partners and British Columbia Investment Management have reached an agreement to acquire Consolidated Communications for $3.1 billion, including debt. The move will take the fiber company out of the public markets, a decision driven by the challenges posed by higher interest rates and rising costs.
Previously, in April, the firms had offered to buy the company for $4 a share. However, a shareholder, Wildcat Capital Management, advised the board to reject that offer as it undervalued the company. In July, the same shareholder urged the board not to accept any offer below $14 a share.
The final purchase price settled at $4.70 a share, which represents a significant premium of approximately 70% over the closing price on April 12, when the initial buyout offer was disclosed.
Chairman Robert Currey stated that Consolidated Communications had explored alternative solutions, such as a cash injection. However, after careful consideration, the board determined that a buyout was the most favorable path forward.
Operating costs have risen for Consolidated Communications as it works on expanding its next-generation fiber network. Additionally, financing new projects has become more challenging due to rising interest rates. Chief Executive Bob Udell confirmed that several factors recently led to a delay in the estimated completion of the fiber build beyond 2026.