empower to acquire Fusion Media

Press Release

Jonesboro, Arkansas-based 3E8 Broadband Solutions dba, empower, has agreed to acquire Fusion Media, an internet and video service provider headquartered in Brookland, Arkansas which provides services throughout Craighead and Greene counties.

JONESBORO, Ark., December 17,2019 – empower, a wholly owned subsidiary of Craighead Electric Cooperative Corp., has entered into an agreement to acquire Fusion Media, a telecommunications provider offering high-speed internet, video and telephone services to communities throughout Craighead and Greene Counties in Northeast Arkansas.    

Fusion Media was formed in 2008 by current owners, Marc and Manon Monte.  Shortly after Fusion was formed, it completed acquisitions of two video-only systems serving the Oak Grove Heights and Walcott areas.  Following the acquisitions, Fusion began offering high-speed data services throughout its service areas.  Over the past 11 years, Fusion has continued to evolve its services which now include fiber-to-the-home services and fiber optic commercial services.  This has enabled the company to grow its service footprint to several surrounding communities.  

“By welcoming Fusion Media to the empower family, we can now offer an even brighter technology future to consumers throughout Northeast Arkansas,” explained Manager of empower, Jeremiah Sloan.  “Fusion fits our service footprint exceptionally well and the strength of our combined networks means that customers will have access to faster and more reliable services than ever before.”  He added that, “empower is also a young company so we are excited about the addition of the Fusion Media employees to our staff.  This brings a depth of experience and skill sets to our team that will help us better serve all of our current and future empower customers.”

Manon Monte, Vice President of Fusion Media commented, “We care very deeply for our customers and for our region, so we were highly selective in choosing an investor that shares the same local focus as our company.”  She added, “The high-quality people and resources of Fusion Media combined with empower company will make the service provided to the customers as good as can be found anywhere.”  Todd Williams who serves as General Counsel for Fusion Media noted, “The union of Fusion with empower raises the ceiling of possibilities for everyone involved.  We are ecstatic about the futures of our team and customers.”

Providing guidance for the transaction was the management team of Craighead Electric.  CEO of Craighead Electric, Brian Duncan, offered that “Our entire management team is pleased to welcome the staff and customers of Fusion Media into the empower family.  The Montes have done a terrific job of building Fusion into a productive and efficient company and we are excited about building on that work to take their existing services to the next level.”

Over the last three years, Craighead Electric has worked to modernize its network by integrating a communications network that will link critical electric assets together to ensure power quality, reliability, and increased operational efficiency.  It is from this initiative that empower was born as a broadband service provider.  Over the coming years, empower aims to build more than 2,500 miles of fiber optic network designed to provide gigabit internet service connections to more than 30,000 residences across Northeast Arkansas.  

“The addition of Fusion Media provides an excellent jump-start to our rapid growth plan,” said Alysha Bowers, Director of Sales and Marketing. “Nearly half of CECC members are unserved or underserved by existing broadband infrastructure and our mission is to bring them best-in-class connectivity.  This acquisition helps us to realize that goal even more quickly.”

Leverage Consulting of St. Louis, MO was selected by both empower and by Fusion Media to provide transaction brokerage services.  “We are pleased to have represented both parties in this transaction.  Our firm has a history of helping independent service providers to optimize their valuation and the combination of these two companies is a wonderful example of value being maximized across the board,” explained Doug Maglothin, Partner and Head of M&A for Leverage.  Moving forward, Leverage will also continue to provide empower with transition services to help ensure a smooth and efficient customer integration.

Serving as legal counsel to empower were Jim Lyons of Lyons & Cone located in Jonesboro, AR as well as Bruce Beard of Cinnamon Mueller in St. Louis, MO.  Representing Fusion Media was Todd Williams of the Snellgrove, Langley, Culpepper, Williams & Mullaly Law Firm of Jonesboro, AR.

The financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.  The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.

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