Multiband to Acquire Competitor in $42.6M Deal

The New Hope-based provider of DirecTV, voice, and high-speed Internet services is buying New Jersey-based MDU Communications International, Inc.

Multiband Corporation said Tuesday that it is acquiring a New Jersey-based competitor, and the deal will significantly boost its customer base.

New Hope-based Multiband installs DirecTV, voice, and high-speed Internet services to residents in apartments and condominiums. It’s buying MDU Communications International, Inc., which also provides Internet and digital satellite television services to multi-dwelling units.

MDU Communications, which will become a subsidiary of Multiband, serves more than 75,000 subscribers. Multiband, meanwhile, serves about 116,000 subscribers in multi-unit properties.

Under the terms of the deal, MDU Communications’ stockholders will receive 0.759 shares of Multiband stock for each MDU share they own. The transaction, through which Multiband will assume $29.7 million in debt, is valued at about $42.6 million, the company said.

Shares of Multiband stock fell 6.7 percent Tuesday and closed at $2.21. They fell 5.4 percent and closed at $2.09 on Wednesday.

MDU Communications’ shares, meanwhile, climbed 71.6 percent and closed at $1.51 on Tuesday. They slid 7.3 percent Wednesday and closed at $1.40.

The planned acquisition comes about five months after a different Multiband deal fell through. The company last June signed a non-binding letter of intent to buy Exton, Pennsylvania-based WPCS International Incorporated for $3.20 per share—a deal valued at roughly $22 million. But the price of WPCS’ shares subsequently fell, and Multiband said in January that the transaction “is not viable” given “current market valuations.”

Multiband signed a definitive agreement for the acquisition of MDU Communications, and the boards of both companies have approved the deal. The transaction is subject to approval by MDU Communications’ shareholders and other closing conditions, and Multiband expects the deal to close during the fourth quarter of this year.

Multiband CEO James Mandel said in a statement that the acquisition is “a strategic opportunity that will be meaningfully and immediately accretive to our business.”

“The combined subscriber base will not only add scale to our support services, but will be an important growth center to achieve a higher penetration of multiple revenue streams, namely our push to deliver broadband and digital voice,” Mandel added.

MDU Communications CEO Sheldon Nelson said that the merger will give her company’s stockholders “shares of a strong, successful company with great potential for diversified growth.”

Multiband has roughly 3,700 employees in 33 states, and MDU Communications has 102 employees in 17 states.

Multiband is among Minnesota’s 60 largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled $300.2 million in 2011.