April 18, 2012 3:52 PM

Three Firms Take Knology Private in $1.5 Billion Cable Deal

Posted by Brian Baxter

Three Am Law 100 firms are advising on a $1.5 billion acquisition of broadband communications provider Knology by Wow Internet, Cable Phone, which is also known as WideOpenWest. Excluding debt, privately-held Wow will pay about $750 million in cash for Knology.

Both Englewood, Colorado–based Wow, which is owned by private equity firm Avista Capital Partners, and West Point, Georgia–based Knology specialize in providing consumers with broadband Internet access, cable TV, phone, and video-on-demand services. The Associated Press reports that the merger makes sense for geographic reasons, as it will unite Wow’s predominantly Midwestern customer base with Knology’s residential and business network in the southeast.

Kirkland Ellis corporate partners Kirk Radke and Joshua Kogan and debt finance partners Joshua Korff and Jason Kanner are advising Wow on the transaction. Kogan and Radke previously led a Kirkland team that represented New York-based Avista Capital on its $780 million acquisition of The Clorox Company’s global auto care businesses in 2010.

Ben Silbert serves as Avista Capital’s general counsel. Wow’s general counsel is Craig Martin, whom the company’s Web site identifies as an “inquisitive guy, problem solver, and participant.”

Alston Bird is representing Knology on matter with a team that includes corporate cochair David Brown, Jr., finance partner Richard Grice, financial services partner Lesley Solomon, and employee benefits partner Laura Thatcher. Knology is a longtime firm client.

Hogan Lovells MA cochair Joseph Gilligan, meanwhile, is leading another legal team advising a transaction committee of Knology’s board of directors. Other Hogan Lovells lawyers working on the matter include corporate partners Steven Kaufman, Paul Manca, Joseph Connolly, Jr., and Kevin Greenslade, employee benefits partner William Neff, tax partner Daniel Davidson, antitrust partner Michele Harrington, and bank finance partner Gordon Wilson.

Chad Wachter serves as Knology’s general counsel. The company stated in a securities filing that “there can be no assurance as to the timing of the transaction,” noting certain financing issues still need to be resolved, and that the deal’s closing is contingent on shareholder and regulatory approvals.

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