USConnect Holdings buys Livingston Telephone, consolidates rural telco market

USConnect, a consortium of independent telcos that banded together this March with the purpose of acquiring rural and independent communications providers, has reached an agreement to acquire Livingston, Texas-based Livingston Telephone.

The initial independent telco investors in USConnect include Brazoria Telephone, Dickey Rural Telephone, Farmers Telephone, Golden West and Horry Telephone.

After meeting customary regulatory approvals, USConnect said the deal is expected to be completed by Q4 2013.

Like many rural independent telcos, Livingston's 83-mile serving area is relatively small. The telco serves Livingston, Texas and surrounding rural areas of Polk County. 

While USConnect did not reveal terms of the agreement, it does illustrate the ongoing and necessary consolidation of the independent telco industry. By merging with USConnect, Livingston would be able to be able to potentially tap into a larger pool of financial capital and share best practices with other rural telcos that face similar challenges in serving smaller markets like Livingston.

"Our merger with USConnect allows us to combine our strengths and strong market presence with USConnect so that we may continue to provide excellent service to our customers well into the future," said Curt Walzel, president of Livingston Telephone, in a release. 

Livingston appears to be just one of various deals USConnect has in its sights.

Consisting of five independent telco investors Brazoria Telephone, Dickey Rural Telephone, Farmers Telephone, Golden West and Horry Telephone, USConnect said the "Livingston Telephone acquisition represents the first transaction USConnect expects to announce over the coming months."

For more:
- see the release

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