Cequel Communications Holdings LLC, which does business as Suddenlink Communications, announced July 18 that it and its existing equity holders reached agreement with BC Partners and CPP (Canada Pension Plan) Investment Board to buy the company for $6.6 billion, according to a prepared statement received Tuesday after it was requested by the Tyler Morning Telegraph.
Suddenlink Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Kent will continue to lead the company.
“This agreement will allow us to continue to invest in our infrastructure, new technology and most importantly, our people,” Kent said in a prepared statement. “We have 6,000 employees who are dedicated to providing a superior level of customer care, and who generate consistent, industry-leading operating results.”
Pete Abel, senior vice president, corporate communications, said Tuesday that it is a management-led buyout, which means the current management team will continue to operate the company.
He said the sale will have no effect on jobs, customers, services or operations.
Abel said there are more than 1,000 Suddenlink employees in Tyler.
In December, Suddenlink officials reported that the company added 130 jobs in Tyler in 2011, bringing the cable company's total employee base here to more than 1,275. Suddenlink, which has corporate headquarters in St. Louis, has two call center facilities in Tyler.
The company employs about 2,900 employees in Texas and about 6,000 nationwide. Suddenlink is the third-largest company of its kind in Texas, offering cable TV, high-speed Internet, phone, security and other services.
Suddenlink is the seventh-largest cable system provider in the country and the leading television and Internet service provider in its markets, according to the prepared statement. The company has more than 1.4 million residential and commercial customers, primarily in Texas, West Virginia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. In the 12 months ending March 31, Suddenlink generated $1.96 billion in revenue, the company reported.
Suddenlink's enterprise value of $6.6 billion includes $1.985 billion of total equity to be invested by BC Partners, CPP Investment Board (CPPIB) and certain members of Suddenlink management. It also will include incremental debt of $500 million and assumption of existing net liabilities of $4.094 billion, as of March, the company reported. Proceeds will be used to acquire the ownership stake of all holders of Suddenlink's preferred and common equity, led by Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and including Quadrangle and Oaktree Capital Management.
The transactions are expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012, subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals.
“Suddenlink is one of the most attractive cable companies in the U.S. today …” BC Partners Co-Chairman and Managing Partner Raymond Svider said. “We are excited to be partnering with Jerry Kent and the high quality and experienced management team he has assembled.”
BC Partners is a private equity firm with advised funds of $15.5 billion. Established in 1986, it has played an active role in developing the European buy-out market for 25 years. BC Partners executives operate as an integrated team through its offices in Europe and North America, acquiring and developing businesses to create value in partnership with management, according to a prepared statement.
CPPIB is a professional investment management organization that invests the funds not needed by the Canada Pension Plan to buy current benefits on behalf of 18 million Canadian contributors and beneficiaries. It invests in public and private equities, real estate, inflation-linked bonds, infrastructure and fixed income instruments. The company is based in Toronto and has offices in London and Hong Kong, according to the statement.
“This represents a unique opportunity to acquire a leading cable operator that has consistently generated industry-leading results,” Andre Bourbonnais, senior vice president of private investments for CPPIB, said of the acquisition. “We are delighted to partner with Suddenlink's management team and BC Partners to position the company for continued growth and long-term success.”
In connection with the acquisition, a newly formed subsidiary of Suddenlink has entered into a commitment letter with Credit Suisse for $500 million of senior unsecured bridge loans, which will be used to fund a portion of the purchase price, the company reported. Suddenlink will continue to be managed by Cequel.