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home : business : business May 26, 2016

6/24/2014 11:05:00 AM
Feds bless local cable acquisition

Sisters Country customers of BendBroadband won't see any radical changes out of the recent acquisition of the company by Telephone and Data Systems (TDS).

However, company executives do expect the change to position the company to offer more products and capabilities moving forward.

The $261 million purchase was announced in May. The industry news site Multichannel News reported on June 20 that the sale had cleared a key antitrust regulatory hurdle with the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) must still rule, but Multichannel News notes that "the FCC and FTC/DOJ usually coordinate review, and the clean bill of antitrust health bodes well for FCC approval as well."

Areas in the hinterlands of Sisters Country that don't have BendBroadband service currently will not see a change overnight. That's an issue of connectivity, according to Dave Wittwer, President and CEO of TDS Telecom.

BendBroadband CEO Amy Tykeson told The Nugget, "I would think that is something that could be evaluated down the road."

As the cable industry evolves, scale is critical to companies seeking to offer new products. That's a significant aspect of last spring's move.

"To the extent that they can be leveraged over a wide range of customers, they (new products) can be viable for the local market," Wittwer said.

"This is a dynamic time in the cable industry and consumers have more choices and options than ever before. It is also a time of huge consolidation. By joining forces with a like-minded company we will gain the scale we need," said Tykeson in her letter to employees.

As the scale of a nationwide company allows more options for the local market, so a strong cadre of local employees offers value to the larger company.

"We're so impressed with the employees in Bend," said Wittwer. He intends to "leverage those employees as part of a larger cable business."

BendBroadband's 280 jobs will stay local.

"Keeping the jobs in Central Oregon was a very big factor for me and my family," Tykeson told The Nugget.

Compatible corporate cultures was also a factor, Tykeson said.

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