Midcontinent is purchasing the Minnesota and Wisconsin cable systems of US Cable. No purchase price was given. The deal is expected to close by September.

When Cablevision purchased Bresnan Communications, it paid about $4,400 per subscriber. Assuming that as a rule of thumb, the Midcontinent purchase could be worth as much as $145 million.

The US Cable systems pass approximately 86,000 homes and serve approximately 33,000 customers. Midcontinent is currently ranked as the 21st-largest multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD), according to the NCTA's list; this deal would move the company up one position, leaping over Service Electric Cable.

The deal will leave US Cable with about 117,000 subscribers in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, South Carolina and Texas.

The two said that 90 percent of the US Cable customers are served by a fiber network fed from a single cable headend.

"We're excited about the opportunity to serve our new customers and become part of these communities," said Pat McAdaragh, Midcontinent's president and CEO. "We believe that these systems are a nice fit for us. The US Cable fiber network is within 100 miles of our fiber network, and we plan to connect the two networks, thereby expanding our reach eastward and getting us into the main network operator interconnect location in Minneapolis."

Jim Pearson, president and CEO of US Cable Corp., said: "It is with mixed emotions that we announce this agreement. We have enjoyed operating in Minnesota and Wisconsin over the past 12 years and are proud of the accomplishments of all of our team members. Midcontinent is a wonderful company, and I know they will deliver their brand of excellence to our customers."