Daily News: August 6, 2012

Ridgemont’s Unite Private Networks Acquires Zito Fiber Network


Unite Private Networks (UPN) announced an agreement with Zito Media for UPN to acquire an 838 route mile fiber-optic network covering southeast Nebraska and the transfer of certain customer contracts. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

UPN provides high-bandwidth, fiber-based communications networks and related services to schools, governments, carriers, data centers, hospitals and enterprise business customers located in 18 states, primarily in the Midwest U.S. Zito’s fiber network is located throughout southeast Nebraska, with connectivity to UPN networks in the Omaha and Lincoln markets.

“The Zito fiber network fits nicely with UPN’s existing fiber network in Nebraska; it’s pretty much hand and glove. The networks are already interconnected and we’ve partnered with Zito in the past to provide services to multi-site customers. The integration will be seamless and will have no impact on existing customer service,” said Ron Reckrodt, COO at UPN.

“The acquisition of the Zito network and customers allows UPN to continue to add coverage and capabilities in the Nebraska market. Zito serves a diverse mix of school, government, carrier and enterprise customers, similar to UPN. It’s a natural fit for us to bring these networks together to continue to help fuel our growth,” added Kevin Anderson, UPN CEO.

“This network was originally built to link together cable TV markets located throughout southeast Nebraska. Over the years, we’ve been able to leverage the network to serve a base of larger customers with fiber-based services. This sale provides funding that we plan to redeploy to add additional cable TV markets and to expand our commercial business in other parts of the country,” said James Rigas, CEO of Zito Media.

The transaction requires certain regulatory approvals and other consents and is expected to close during the 3rd Quarter of 2012. UPN is owned by Ridgemont Equity Partners, a Charlotte-based private equity firm, and UPN’s senior management. Debt financing for the transaction is being arranged by RBC Capital Markets and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. RBC is acting as financial advisor and Alston & Bird LLP is acting as legal advisor to UPN.

Zito Media operates cable television properties and commercial fiber networks in rural markets in twelve states. The company is focused on providing advanced residential and commercial services to underserved markets.

Ridgemont Equity Partners is a Charlotte-based private equity firm that specializes in middle-market buyout and growth equity investments.