Regions Shenandoah Valley

Shentel to pay $640 million to acquire Ntelos

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If all goes as planned, nearly 300,000 Ntelos customers will get their wireless service from another valley-based company next year.

Edinburg-based Shenandoah Telecommunications Co. (Shentel) has agreed to acquire Waynesboro-based Ntelos Holdings Corp. in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $640 million. That amount includes debt, which stood at around $431 million as of June 30. Ntelos shareholders will receive approximately $208 million. The deal still faces shareholder and regulatory approval.

Shentel’s wireless service operates under the Sprint brand. When the deal closes, the company will have more than a million wireless customers, making it the leading provider of Sprint-branded communications services in the mid-Atlantic.

Discussions between Ntelos and Shentel have been going on for “quite some time,” says Mike Minnis, Ntelos’ director of marketing and communications.

“In our industry, consolidation has been ongoing for many years.”

Minnis says the Shentel deal offers Ntelos customers “the benefits that go with a national brand but at the same time … the level of service you can only get from a locally operated company.”

Shentel plans to invest more than $300 million to accelerate a 4G LTE upgrade and expand the existing Ntelos wireless network. It also will add an additional 150 coverage sites.

Ntelos stores will convert to Sprint-branded stores managed by Shentel. “All of the retail locations and sales force will be merged,” Minnis says. “In any transaction of this type, there will certainly be duplications of responsibility. Not all Ntelos employees will have the chance to stay on as Shentel employees.” Currently Ntelos has 680 employees, and Shentel has approximately 700.

This year marked Ntelos’ 25th year of providing wireless services to customers in Virginia, West Virginia and portions of Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The company began as Clifton Forge-Waynesboro Telephone Co. in 1897.

Shentel specializes in serving rural markets in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The company started in 1902 as Farmers Mutual Telephone System. It provides a wide range of services that include local and long distance telephone service, high-speed Internet and data services, and wireless voice and data services.

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