PE-backed Windstream (NYSE: WIN) has agreed to acquire Q-Comm, a provider of telecommunication services, in a deal valued at $782 million. Windstream will pay $278 million in cash, issue about 20.6 million shares of common stock valued at $237 million and repay Q-Comm's $267 million debt balance. Windstream provides voice, broadband and cable television services. The company was acquired by Vestar Capital Partners, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe and Citicorp Venture Capital in 2000 and went public in 2005.
98 PE investors have invested in 105 companies in the Communications & Networking sector since the beginning of 2008, according to the PitchBook Platform. Deal activity in the sector remained relatively steady from 2008 to 2009, compared to overall PE activity, dropping only from 49 deals to 44. With 21 completed deals so far this year, 2010 is slightly behind the 27 logged by this point last year. However, despite the decrease in total deal counts from year to year, the percentage of deals that the sector accounts for in the IT industry has remained steady and even slightly increased, rising from 22.9% in 2008 to 24% in 2009 and 24.7% in 2010 YTD. During the same time period, the most active investors in the sector include Platinum Equity (4 deals), HM Capital Partners (3), Morgenthaler Partners (3) and Hercules Technology Growth Capital (3).