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Iowa Telecom buys another Minn. Carrier

Fri, 11/21/2008 - 7:20am
Brian Santo

Iowa Telecommunications Services plans to acquire substantially all of the assets of Sherburne Tele Systems, a small phone company operating in the outskirts of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, for $80.6 million.

In July, Iowa Telecom purchased Bishop Communications, another carrier in the Twin Cities area.

Iowa Telecom has about a quarter-million customers. With Sherburne, the company will pick up another 25,000 or so.

Iowa Telecom said the $80.6 million purchase price includes $2.7 million for Sherburne’s recently purchased 700 MHz spectrum, acquired through its affiliate Wireless Communications Ventures.

Sherburne also owns 33 percent of Shal Networks, and Shal LLC, which owns and leases a 2,500-mile fiber-optic network throughout Minnesota. Through the combined ownership of Bishop Communications and Sherburne, Iowa Telecom will own 66 percent of the two Shal properties.

The sale is expected to close in the first half of 2009.

“This acquisition is another opportunity to profitably grow our rural telecommunications business,” said Alan L. Wells, Iowa Telecom’s chairman and CEO. “Sherburne operates in attractive service territories with appealing demographics and has a very solid reputation with its customers and within the communities it serves.”

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