ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, FEBRUARY 18, 1999 - Charter Communications, a Wired World Company, and Greater Media, Inc., today announced that Charter has signed an agreement to purchase systems in 28 communities from Greater Media, Inc. in central Massachusetts including Worcester, New England's second largest city, and Chicopee in western Massachusetts as well as areas surrounding those communities. Greater Media serves approximately 173,000 customers in Massachusetts. The East Brunswick, NJ Company also agreed to merge its operation serving approximately 79,000 customers in Philadelphia, PA into Comcast Corp. Waller Capital represented Charter in the negotiations.
In less than a month, Charter has announced that it will acquire systems in Southern California from American Cable Entertainment with 68,000 customers, exchange systems with InterMedia in the Southeastern United States to gain approximately 260,000 customers and earlier this week, announced that it will acquire 460,000 customers managed by Rifkin & Associates, Inc. in Miami Beach, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
"Charter has long sought opportunities to acquire systems in New England," said Charter President and CEO, Jerald L. Kent. "We are fortunate to be adding the Greater Media systems," said Kent. "Peter Bordes' leadership of Greater Media has led to an outstanding operation with a good record for providing high quality service to their customers. We look forward to continuing this high level of service and plan to grow through the expansion of our offerings over the broadband pipe. Combined with our existing customer base in the Northeast, this acquisition will double our presence in that region," Kent added.
Greater Media owns and operates the nation's third largest privately held group of radio stations based on audience size, with a total of 14 stations serving four markets. The company also publishes one of the largest groups of community newspapers in New Jersey. Bordes said the company will continue to operate its radio and newspaper properties with an eye toward expansion through acquisition.
Charter Communications, a Wired World Company, was founded in 1993 and has achieved internal customer growth that is twice the industry average. Headquartered in St. Louis, the company was ranked as the eighth fastest growing company in the country by Inc. magazine for its 1998 Inc. 500 list. Charter was acquired by investor and Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen in late 1998 and is in the process of combining with Marcus Cable. Charter will be the nation's seventh largest cable operator.
Bordes said that change in the cable and telecommunications landscape has made it clear that the industry will consolidate in the hands of a few major players and that future growth opportunities for smaller, independent multiple system operators are limited. "The future of our cable systems in the communities we have been privileged to serve and the careers of our terrific group of employees will be very well served under the ownership of Charter in Massachusetts and Comcast in Philadelphia," he said.