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BCI buying James Cable

Thu, 04/04/2013 - 1:54pm
Brian Santo

BCI Broadband, the company formed by former executives from Bresnan Communications, is buying James Cable.

The move follows BCI’s purchase of the Allegiance cable systems in January.

The value of the purchase of James Cable was not disclosed. BCI said it expects to have the deal finalized by mid-year.

Neither did the companies mention a subscriber count for James Cable. As recently as 2010, James Cable had claimed as many as 50,000 subscribers. James Cable does business as Mediastream, the name of an operator in Georgia that James Cable purchased in 2011.

The rule-of-thumb value for cable acquisitions has been to pay between $3,000 and $4,000 per subscriber, though the value is often lower for companies with operations largely in rural areas, and James Cable operates largely in less populated areas. Using $3,000 a head as a figure, BCI’s acquisition of James Cable could be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 million.

The former Allegiance systems are dotted across the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma. The acquisition of James Cable will expand BCI's presence in Oklahoma and Texas, and add Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Wyoming and Colorado to the list of states where BCI will have systems.

BCI has never revealed subscriber figures for Allegiance either. Based on years-old information, Allegiance once had as many as 70,000 subscribers. So between the former Allegiance systems and now with James Cable, BCI has a subscriber count that almost certainly tops 100,000, and might be as high as 150,000. A subscriber tally in that range would make BCI one of the larger of the mid-sized MSOs.

BCI Broadband was formed by president and CEO Jeffrey S. DeMond and Andrew Kober, EVP and CFO, both formerly with Bresnan Communications, with the backing of  BBH Capital Partners (BBHCP), a private equity fund sponsored by Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.

BCI is engaged in a self-described “aggressive growth plan,” suggesting the company is not done with its acquisition plans. The company appears to building on a plan similar to the one executed by Jerry Kent and his associates in building Suddenlink.

"BCI Broadband's management team has deep experience managing non-urban cable operations," said DeMond. "The acquisition of James Cable complements our initial acquisition of Allegiance perfectly and is an essential step in our business plan to build scale within a sensible non-urban footprint as we deliver industry leading products and services to markets that have strong, pent-up demand and room to expand share."

Neither company said what would happen with James Cable’s current executive team, including CEO Kate Adams.

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