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Cable Technology Feature Article

April 18, 2012

WOW Scoops Up Fellow Cable Operator Knology for $750 Million

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

Regional cable and Internet operator WideOpenWest (News - Alert) (WOW!) has agreed to acquire fellow entertainment and communication provider Knology (News - Alert) for approximately $750 million in cash.

The transaction will merge two like-minded companies that maintain different geological footprints. Owned by private equity firm Avista Capital Partners, WOW offers triple-play services to consumers in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana. Knology, meanwhile, provides Internet, cable and digital telephone service to around 10 markets in the Southeast and upper Midwest regions of the U.S.

The combined company will serve more than 800,000 customers across 13 states, with a total footprint of around 2.8 million homes.

“We believe that our systems are highly complementary,” WOW President and Chief Financial Officer Steven Cochran noted in a statement. “We are very excited about this opportunity to invest in and expand our geographic reach, and we look forward to welcoming Knology's employees and customers into the WOW family.”

“WOW and Knology are a natural fit; together, our people, network and operating infrastructure will combine to provide a strong platform for continued growth,” added Colleen Abdoulah, WOW Chief Executive Officer and Chairwoman of the Board.

The $19.75 per share offer only represents a 9.4 percent premium on Tuesday's closing price – significantly lower than the average merger transaction in 2012 – but 25 percent more than the share price on Feb. 27, the day before rumors surfaced that Knology had begun shopping itself to potential bidders, according to the New York Times. Clearly, both companies agreed to disregard Knology's inflated stock price.

In addition, WOW will take on around $750 million of Knology's debt, valuing the transaction at around $1.5 billion. Knology generated revenues of $518.6 million in 2011.

The deal is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Credit Suisse and Bank of America Merrill Lynch helped advise Knology on the sale.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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