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Cable Technology Feature Article

May 07, 2014

Telephone and Data Systems Acquires BendBroadband

By David Gutbezahl, TMCnet Contributing Writer

With only 280 employees, BendBroadband (News - Alert), an Oregon based full-service communications company, had an excellent year in 2013, drawing in an annual revenue of $70 million. With BendBroadband’s success and high revenues comes attention from Telephone and Data Systems, a private family owned company and parent company to TDS Telecom. On May 1, 2014, Telephone and Data Systems announced that it has acquired BendBroadband and all its assets. The announced agreement stated that Telephone and Data Systems acquired BendBroadband for the price of  $261 million.

BendBroadband has been providing media services from its headquarters in Bend, Oregon since 1955. When first started, Bend TV provided Oregon residents with three television stations by subscription. Since its start, the company has grown, and now provides a range of services to residents and businesses in Central Oregon. These services include broadband, fiber connectivity, cable television, and telephone services. Bendbroadband also owns two affiliate companies. BendBroadband Vault is a 30,000 square foot Tier 3 (News - Alert) data center that runs on renewable energy. BendBroadband’s other company, Zolo Media, is a cable advertising and broadband business. Both of these will also be acquired by Telephone and Data Systems.

BendBroadband is reported to have reached 79,000 homes and businesses in Central Oregon in 2013. The company has 36,000 video subscribers, 41,000 high speed broadband subscribers, and 22,000 digital voice subscribers. It is this strong presence in Oregon that seems to be the catalyst for Telephone and Data System;’s decision to acquire the business.

"BendBroadband's strong market position and technology leadership will help us achieve significant forward momentum in our cable strategy," said David A. Wittwer, president and CEO, TDS Telecom. "We will leverage BendBroadband's considerable expertise across our growing cable business, driving residential and commercial growth by delivering competitive broadband, video and managed services over the high-capacity network. We share BendBroadband's vision of being a trusted partner to our customers and communities, and growing profitably through quality, service and innovation."

Telephone and Data Systems is a family owned Fortune 500 company, providing telecommunication services to over 5.9 million customers nationwide. The company has several businesses under its umbrella, including U.S. Cellular (News - Alert), TDS Telecom, OneNeck IT Solutions and Baja Broadband. BendBroadband’s 280 employees will be joining a massive workforce of over 10,500.

The announced agreement between Telephone and Data Systems and BendBroadband has not yet been closed, as the two companies are waiting on regulatory and other conditions to be approved, but it is expected that it will close Q3 of 2014.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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