In an announcement last Tuesday, Great Plains Communications reported that it has entered into an agreement to be purchased by Grain Management, LLC.
Great Plains Communications is the largest privately-owned telecommunications provider in Nebraska. Great Plains CEO Todd Foje said a combination of many factors went into the decision to sell the company.
“First, there’s been a lot of merger and acquisition activity in our industry, and we knew there’d be good interest in possibly having a new shareholder and investor in our company,” said Foje. “Our business has performed really well. We have a great team of people, a supportive customer base, and we’ve been able to grow the business, so we felt like we were in a position of strength from a company standpoint.”
Grain Management, LLC (Grain) is a leading private equity firm focused on investments in the communications sector. Foje said they chose Grain for the purchase for multiple reasons, the first of which was that the firm focuses exclusively on investing in communications-related businesses.
“A second factor was the fact that they were willing to contribute additional financial resources and capital to the company to support some additional growth,” Foje said.
Amid concerns from current employers, Foje explained that another reason the company chose Grain was that the current workforce was going to stay in place and the business had more possibilities for growth.
“It’s business as usual for our current employees,” Foje reassured. “We expect stable employment for now, and over time, hope to grow employment as the business grows.”
Foje also explained that the current management team is staying in place as well. “Grain doesn’t have executives or management to put into a business. They partner with management to grow businesses is what their approach is, and so we’re partners in that respect.”
As far as Great Plains’ current customers, Foje does not anticipate any changes to prices or services offered. “Over time, any impacts will only be positive because Grain is actually taking an approach with us where we’ll actually have more money to invest in the business and in our network, benefitting customers.”
“We expect to continue to grow in our current markets,” Foje said about the company’s future plans. “One of our objectives is always keeping the rural parts of the state connected to the metro parts and the metro parts of the state to the rural parts. We’ll continue to invest in both of those and create growth. In addition to that, we’ll continue to acquire other communications businesses that we can combine with ours to become even bigger and better over time.”
Foje expects the transaction to be finalized in the fall, after being granted the proper regulatory approvals. Once the transaction is complete, the company’s headquarters will remain in Blair and the company will remain Great Plains Communications.
Grain Management, LLC (Grain), a leading private equity firm focused on investments in the communications sector, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Great Plains Communications - the largest privately-owned telecommunications provider in Nebraska.
"We are enthusiastic about the outstanding performance Great Plains Communications has delivered for its customers, and we are thrilled to partner with the current management team to continue pursuing their vision of being the region's leading provider of high-quality, fiber-based telecommunications services," said David Grain, Founder & CEO of Grain Management.
Grain will acquire Great Plains Communications from its current owners, whose families have led the company's growth since 1910, when it began as a local telephone company. Throughout its long history, Great Plains Communications has strategically transitioned itself into a leading regional provider of fiber-based services through significant investment in its state-of-the-art network and facilities. The company offers residential services, such as digital phone, high-definition cable television, and broadband Internet through DSL, cable modem, satellite or fiber to more than 90 communities across the state. It also provides business services ranging from traditional voice and data products to installation and support of large business networks with scalable Ethernet solutions.
"We were committed to choosing a buyer that would support the family's dedication to delivering high-quality services to our customers," said current owners, the Garrigan and Jensen families, who are third and fourth generation descendants of Founder E.C. Hunt. "Great Plains Communications' capable employees, led by CEO Todd Foje and the management team, will continue to carry on the mission of the family and Grain Management."
"This acquisition is a positive step forward in our vision of providing the best telecommunications services to sustain and advance Nebraska," said Great Plains Communications CEO, Todd Foje. "Together with Grain Management, we will be able to expand our network and enhance our offerings to benefit our customers, employees and the local communities we serve. Our team looks forward to partnering with Grain Management and utilizing their deep experience in regional fiber investment."
Upon completion of the acquisition, Great Plains Communications will operate over 9,500 route miles of high-quality network architecture. With additional resources from Grain Management, the company intends to enhance its presence throughout the Midwest, extending and improving its network for both customers and their communities.
TD Bank served as financial advisor to Grain Management. Alston & Bird LLP served as legal counsel to Grain Management.
UBS Investment Bank served as exclusive financial advisor to Great Plains Communications in the transaction. Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP served as legal counsel to Great Plains Communications with assistance from Kutak Rock LLP and Woods & Aitken LLP.
The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018, following the satisfaction of customary regulatory approvals. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
About Grain Management
Grain Management, LLC is a leading private equity firm focused on investments in the communications sector. The firm was founded in 2007 with the objective of bringing a differentiated approach to the industry characterized by expansive sector knowledge, rigorous analytics, and dedicated, in-house operating and financial professionals. Grain is directed by a team of highly experienced investment professionals with deep industry knowledge and a specialized skillset, marked by extensive operating history, deep quantitative and analytical proficiency, and regulatory expertise. For more information visit www.graingp.com.
About Great Plains Communications
Great Plains Communications is the largest privately-owned telecommunications provider in Nebraska, delivering high speed Internet, cable television, and voice services to over 90 communities across the state. The company also prides itself on their progressive approach to accommodating the unique needs of all regional and national telecommunications carriers, LECs, ISPs, wireless carriers and other service providers utilizing superior engineering and custom build strategies. At the core of its service offering is an extensive 9,500-mile regional fiber network including over 300 fiber miles in the Omaha Metro area. The network extends beyond Nebraska into Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyomingoffering community access rings, last-mile, and middle-mile solutions, all fully supported by their 24x7x365 Network Operations Center. For more information visit www.gpcom.com.
Contact: Lina Francis, PR@graingp.com
Press Release from: Grain Management, LLC
The Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) is seeking the public’s help in locating a person wanted on multiple charges.
An arrest warrant has been issued in Chase County for Kody G. Huff, 30, for the following offenses: first degree assault, kidnapping, terroristic threats, use of a weapon to commit a felony, possession of a weapon by a prohibited person.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Kody Huff, please call the NSP tip line at (308) 535-8137.
The family of 38 year old Santee resident Artuoro Rouillard is asking for assistance in locating him. Rouillard has been missing since Saturday.
According to family members, Rouillard was last seen 2:30 a.m. Saturday while fishing at Crazy Peak. He was heading to his home in the village of Santee.
Rouillard is approximately 5'5" and weighs 249 pounds.
Any information can be directed to the Santee Tribal Police Department at 402-857-2527.
The Nebraska State Patrol has activated an Endangered Missing Advisory to determine the whereabouts of Darrell Gowery.
An Endangered Missing Advisory has been issued for Northeast Nebraska. The Cedar County Sheriff’s Department is attempting to locate, Darrell Gowery, who is a 90 years old, white male, approximately 5’ 10”" tall, approximately 200 pounds, with gray hair and blue eyes. Gowery was last seen wearing a navy blue long sleeved turtle neck with a gray vest and blue jeans.
Gowery is known to drive a black 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 pick-up bearing Nebraska plate 13-427U and last known whereabouts was in the vicinity of Wynot, Nebraska, at approximately 12:00 p.m. on April 13, 2018. If you have any information, please call 911, or contact the Cedar County Sheriff’s Department at 402-254-6884, immediately.
A child flu-related death in central Nebraska has been reported to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. State health officials say Nebraska along with the rest of the nation is experiencing a severe flu season.
“We started seeing increased flu activity earlier than usual this year and flu continues to circulate at very high levels,” says Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS. “During a severe flu season, we see more illness, hospitalizations and sadly more deaths.”
Nationally, 30 children have died from flu this season according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most children recover from the flu, some can have severe and sometimes fatal infections, but that has been rare in Nebraska. So far, there have been a total of 22 flu-related deaths statewide - 21 adults and one child.
Antiviral drugs like Tamiflu, prescribed by a health care provider, should be used as early as possible in people who have flu-like illness. For those who aren’t sick, preventive measures along with flu vaccine can help prevent flu and other winter illnesses.
Protect yourself from the flu by:
The CDC recommends flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.
While flu can make anyone sick, certain people are at greater risk for serious complications, and it's extremely important they receive vaccine and it's not too late to be vaccinated.
For more flu information, visit the DHHS website at www.dhhs.ne.gov/flu or the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/flu.
If you are a fan of Hiland Dairy's orange juice or citrus punch, take a second to check the codes on the jug.
In a press release, Hiland Dairy announced a voluntary recall of two products produced at the Omaha facility over concerns the products may contain milk protein that could affect those individuals that have sensitivity to milk allergens. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reactions if they consume these products. No illnesses or reactions have been reported at this time.
The affected products are one gallon Hiland Dairy Orange Juice, dated February 5, 2018 with product plant code 3108, and one gallon Tampico Citrus Punch, dated March 9, 2018 with plant code 3108.
Hiland Dairy initially learned of a potential issue during internal quality control testing at the Omaha facility. The company promptly contacted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to initiate the recall. They are working with the FDA to investigate the matter.
Customers who have purchased these products are encouraged to discard them or return to their local retailers to exchange the product for a like item. Consumers with questions can contact Hiland Dairy seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 402-740-2254.
One man was arrested after assaulting a local Nebraska State Trooper outside a home in Plainview Tuesday evening.
The incident occurred around 5:00 p.m. at a residence at 616 N. West Street, in Plainview. Trooper Brandon Viterna went to the residence to follow-up with a woman on a previous car accident. When he arrived at the home, Trooper Viterna was confronted by a man outside the home.
The man, identified as Billy Ray Hoscheit, 52, reached into a vehicle, pulled out a machete, and continued yelling at the trooper. Hoscheit then put the machete back into the car and approached the trooper. Trooper Viterna pushed him away, but Hoscheit charged again leading to a physical confrontation. At that time, Hoscheit struck Trooper Viterna in the face.
Trooper Viterna called for back-up and additional officers from the Plainview Police Department, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, and Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) arrived at the scene. Hoscheit went inside the house and locked the door. After attempting to get Hoscheit to voluntarily surrender, officers made entry into the house. A second struggle ensued in which Hoscheit was taken into custody.
After being taken into custody, Hoscheit began complaining of chest pains and was transported to the Plainview Hospital where he was evaluated and released. NSP arrested Hoscheit for Assault on an Officer, Resisting Arrest, Obstruction, and Disobeying a Lawful Order. He was lodged in Pierce County Jail.
Trooper Viterna was evaluated and released from the Plainview Hospital.
On Tuesday morning, the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) denied TransCanada's motions to change its route for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska.
On Dec. 12, the PSC approved an alternate mainline route for the Keystone XL project, not the preferred route stated in the application. TransCanada was not satisfied with this decision and motioned for an amendment.
By a unanimous vote of 5-0, the commissioners denied all the motions on Tuesday morning. TransCanada presented an Order on the Motions for Reconsideration in the OP-0003 Keystone XL Pipeline Application docket.
"Had the PSC denied TransCanada’s KXL Pipeline Application an amendment could have occurred - now TransCanada cannot amend and has no avenue to request alternative relief from the PSC," Brian Jorde, attoney with Domina Law Group. "The PSC process is now over and the appeal process of the PSC decision can now begin and run all the way through the courts with TransCanada’s own denied Motion for Reconsideration foretelling its likelihood of success on appeal."
Jorde said this is the "best possible outcome for landowners."
"As this is a legal proceeding and the possibility for court appeals exists, there will be no comment from the Commission," the PSC press release stated. "The Order will speak for itself."
Central Valley Ag Cooperative (CVA) recently hosted their Annual Meeting for member-owners to review the fiscal year. CVA reported $21.7 Million in Total Profit for fiscal year 2017 ending on August 31, 2017.
“We are proud of the way our Cooperative performed this year in a difficult environment,” said Carl Dickinson, CEO/President of Central Valley Ag. “We believe that true success comes from not only serving farmers, but also in returning profits to its owners.”
This year, CVA will disperse $8.0 Million in patronage to member-owners with 25% paid in cash and the balance in Non-Qualified Equity. Over the 2017 fiscal year, $7.9 Million was paid out in cash patronage, equity redemptions, and estates. Not only is the cash received as a benefit for member-owners; $26.4 Million was reinvested in assets to improve speed, space, and efficiency in 2017.
At the meeting CVA also announced the newly elected members of their Board of Directors. CVA relies on its Board of Directors to position CVA for future success and profitability for member-owners. The CVA Board of Directors is made up of local, agricultural producers who are recognized for their industry expertise, as well as economic and community development skills. CVA member-owners elected the following individuals to represent their voice on the board: Alex Brookhouser – Brunswick, NE; Duane Schumacher – Bloomfield, NE; Pat Wemhoff – Humphrey, NE; Jay Uehling – Oakland, NE; Lucas Carlson – York, NE; Larry Naber – Utica, NE; Luke Shamburg – Beloit, KS; and Mark Phillips – Akron, IA.
“It is our goal to focus on customer needs and the processes that improve our customers’ experience and to do these things in a cooperative manner to help them achieve maximum profitability,” said Dave Beckman, CVA Board Chairman. “Our Board of Directors play a large role in helping us achieve that goal. I also want to thank our departing board of director members Gordon Quiring, Gary Resco and Don Nelson for their dedication to CVA over the years.”
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