Daily News: October 7, 2014

GE Capital, SunTrust Finance Pamlico, Clarity Acquisition

Pamlico Capital and the management team of Clarity Telecom closed the previously announced acquisition of broadband assets in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa from WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone.

GE Capital and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey provided debt financing to support the transaction. Pamlico and Clarity were advised by K&L Gates as legal counsel. The acquisition represents the fourth investment in Pamlico Capital III, a fund with $650 million of aggregate commitments.

The Clarity team will transition the platform from WOW! in the coming months and rebrand the operation as Vast Broadband, while continuing to provide high-speed broadband, video and voice services to more than 50,000 residential and commercial customers. Clarity and WOW! will work together to provide a smooth transition for customers and employees.

Pamlico initially partnered with Clarity’s management team in 2003 to build NewWave Communications, a rural broadband company that grew to serve 160,000 subscribers. After successfully exiting NewWave through transactions with Time Warner Cable (2011) and Rural Broadband Investments (2013), Pamlico partnered with Jim Gleason, Keith Davidson, and Larry Eby to create Clarity Telecom, a search company formed to pursue rural broadband investments. Clarity identified WOW!’s systems in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa as an attractive platform for growth and entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the assets in June.

Jim Gleason, CEO of Clarity, noted, “We’re delighted to complete the purchase of the WOW! Properties in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. The growth opportunities considering the local economy, the excellent network and the local staff commitment make this a very exciting acquisition into the broadband communications industry. Our team has evaluated many opportunities in the past year and we’re excited to partner with Pamlico to re-enter the broadband space.”

Pamlico Partner Art Roselle said, “We’re pleased to complete the purchase of the WOW! systems and excited to get to work building Vast Broadband with the Clarity team. We remain very impressed with the quality of the systems we have acquired, and believe that under the management of Jim Gleason and his seasoned team, the systems represent an attractive platform for building a leading broadband business.”

Clarity Telecom is a broadband communications platform focused on providing Internet, cable television and telephone services.