WideOpenWest CEO Cochran: IPO was enough to get out of debt

WOW! CEO Steven Cochran said the company's top priorities right now are to improve the speed and reliability of its broadband network.(Denver Business Journal)

Despite the fact that WideOpenWest fell about $90 million short of an IPO target of $400.05 million, company CEO Steven Cochran told FierceCable that the Englewood, Colorado-based cable operator still raised enough to get out of debt and get back into network-investment mode. 

Following WOW!’s $750 million purchase of broadband services provider Knology in 2012, the MSO was “left with a really expensive capital structure,” said Cochran, a 15-year company veteran who took the operator’s top job in April 2014. The IPO, he said, “allowed us to completely pay off the high-priced bonds we had and get back into free-cash mode. We’re able to make investments in the business again.”

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“We were disappointed [the IPO] didn’t price higher than it did,” Cochran conceded. “But the most important thing was to get the deal done and improve our balance sheet.”

Cochran added that WOW!'s top priorities right now are to improve the speed and reliability of its broadband network. 

RELATED: WOW! reaffirms pledge to steer clear of data caps

WOW! is the sixth-largest cable operator in the U.S., with 772,300 video, high-speed data and voice customers. Its footprint spans nearly 3 million homes, overbuilding into Comcast and Charter Communications terrain in regions including the Midwest and Southeast. 

The IPO filing comes as the MSO has returned to growth after several years of debt struggles and layoffs. In December 2014, for example, the company laid off roughly 9% of its 3,000-worker labor force.

WOW! made news last week when it pledged not to employ data caps on its HSI users.