Iowa Telecom to buy Minnesota telco

Rural telco consolidation continued late last week as Iowa Telecommunications Services said it will acquire Minnesota's Sherburne Tele Systems for $80.6 million. The deal, which is expected to close in the first half of next year, would continue Iowa Telecom's ongoing expansion in neighboring Minnesota. Last winter, Iowa Telecom bought Annandale, Minn.-based Bishop Communications Corp.

Iowa Telecom is based in Newton, Iowa, and has more than 230,000 access lines. Sherburne is headquartered in Big Lake, Minn., and serves nine communities north and northwest of the Twin Cities. Iowa Telecom managed to arrange a $75 million loan from the Rural Telephone Finance Cooperative to help fund the Sherburne deal, so maybe the financing drought for telecom acquisitions is easing up a bit--well, at least if you meet the RTFC's requirements.

For more:
- The Chicago Tribune has this Associated Press report

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