WOW! to receive $125M investment, partnership from private equity firm

Wide Open West (WOW!) will receive a $125 million investment from New York-based private-equity firm Crestview Partners, the MSO announced.

Crestview Partners will also receive a stake in the company in a deal that values WOW! at nearly $4 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. Crestview partner Jeff Marcus -- a cable industry veteran who founded Marcus Communications and once worked for Charter Communications -- will become chairman of Wide Open West. He'll replace former WOW! CEO Colleen Abdoulah, who will retire as chairwoman but will continue to serve as a director of the WOW! board.

The Englewood, Colo.-based cable operator was founded in 1996 and serves around 782,000 customers in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota and Iowa. WOW! is privately owned by Avista Capital Partners, which purchased the company in 2005 for around $800 million.

"The investment by Crestview, together with the continued support of Avista, will help WOW! to further capitalize on future growth opportunities while continuing to deliver the award-winning customer experience for which we are known," said WOW! CEO Steven Cochran.

Added Marcus: "WOW! is the fourth cable investment Crestview has made since its founding in 2004. We know this industry quite well and believe, through this new partnership and given our extensive experience, we can help drive additional value creation while continuing to build on WOW!'s outstanding customer experience."

WOW! has struggled with cash flow of late. A year ago, the company announced layoffs of 9 percent of its 3,000-employee workforce. 

For more:
- read this WOW! press release
- read this Wall Street Journal story

Related articles:
WOW becomes latest mid-sized MSO to employ TiVo for advanced video services
WOW! unveils hosted VoIP aimed at SMBs in Midwest markets
WOW! announces company-wide layoffs, price increases for customers

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