Mattoon, Illinois — The name of the main telecommunications provider in a number of northwest Iowa communities is changing yet again. But this time it’s due to the sale of the exchanges to a local company instead of a name change or sale at the corporate level.
Mankato, Minnesota-based Hickory Tech had purchased the northwest Iowa exchanges from US West in 1997, and for a number of years used “Heartland Telecommunications” as its Iowa brand. US West was a “baby bell” and a successor of Northwestern Bell. After a short change to “Crystal,” Hickory Tech used its own name on the exchanges for several years. In October, 2013, they changed their name to “Enventis,” a name they only held for 20 months before a June, 2015 sale to Illinois-based Consolidated Communications.
Now Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc. says they have entered into a definitive agreement with Mutual Telephone Company of Sioux Center (also known as Premier Communications) and Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association to divest its Heartland Telecommunications Company of Iowa territory in order for the Company to focus on its core regions.
Premier will acquire the Iowa exchanges of: Akron, Boyden, Doon, Hawarden, Hull, Ireton, Rock Rapids, Rock Valley and Sibley. Winnebago will acquire the Iowa exchanges of Bancroft and Lakota.
Doug Boone, chief executive officer of Premier says that his company has been, and always will be, committed to offering exceptional voice, video and data services to their customers. He says that the addition of these nine exchanges is a natural fit to their existing service territory and they pledge to serve these new customers with, “the same cutting-edge technology and great customer service that Premier is known for.”
Consolidated’s Heartland operation contributed approximately $7.0 million of revenue in fiscal 2015. The agreement is an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $22.5 million, subject to certain contractual adjustments. The closing is subject to customary regulatory approvals, which are expected to be completed in the second half of 2016.