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May 4, 2022 - 2:04pm

France-based equity firm acquires portion of Empire Access

posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Empire Access, news, batavia, Le Roy, notify.

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A publically traded private equity firm based in France has acquired a portion of Empire Access, a Prattsburgh-based broadband company that provides Internet and TV service to several WNY communities, including Batavia and Le Roy.

It's unclear from the news release how much of a stake in the company Antin Infrastructure Partners acquired.

The release stated that the Wagner family, which has controlled Empire since 1946, will retain an ownership stake in the company and Brian Wagner will remain on the company’s board of directors. Jim Baase, Empire’s COO, will become CEO.

Antin's stock is traded in the European Union and the company reported more than $48 million in revenue last year and has more than $23 billion in assets.

Founded in 1896 in Prattsburgh, New York, Empire offers high-speed FTTP ("fiber to the premises") internet, voice, and digital TV services.

The company reportedly manages a network of 1,280 fiber route miles servicing more than 92,000 addresses and 24,000 customers.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in late 2022, subject to obtaining regulatory approvals.

“Empire is one of the preeminent FTTP providers in the regions we serve and the Empire-Antin partnership will enable us to grow more quickly," said Baase, quoted in the release. "With still a substantial opportunity ahead, we are excited to partner with Antin to help secure that future growth and provide high-speed broadband access to consumers across our footprint.”

Kevin Genieser, Senior Partner at Antin, promised growth for Empire with his company's investment. 

"Empire is uniquely positioned to leverage its expansive fiber network to provide broadband services to underserved parts of New York and Pennsylvania," Genieser said.

Citizens, CIT (a division of First Citizens Bank), and Webster Bank acted as lead arrangers on the debt financing for the transaction.

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