Grain Management, a private equity firm investing in the global communications industry, together with E. Ritter and Company, has signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Ritter Communications. The company provides internet, phone, video services and cloud solutions to business, residential and wholesale customers in Arkansas and Tennessee.
Financial terms of the deal were not released. It is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
“Ritter Communications has a best-in-class network, an enviable market position, a proven management team and a strong heritage,” Grain Management founder and CEO David J. Grain said. “We appreciate the trust the Ritter family has placed in Grain as its preferred partner. Investing and partnering with companies like Ritter Communications is what we do best, and we are excited to be spearheading a plan for accelerated growth while preserving the Ritter Communications customer-oriented culture.”
Grain will invest in Ritter Communications with its current owner, E. Ritter and Company, whose family owners have operated the business for five generations since it began providing local telephone service in 1906. Ritter Communications has invested more than $100 million in local expansion during the last 10 years and owns one of the largest, high-capacity fiber optic networks in the region.
“Our goal was to secure the company’s future by bringing in a majority investor and partner with industry expertise and a proven history in the communications sector. The Ritter family will retain positions on the board and continue to be involved,” said Ronda Ritter Ray, lead family director and fourth-generation Ritter family shareholder. “The business still represents a substantial portion of the E. Ritter and Company portfolio and our family is proud to see the company continue to use the Ritter brand that has served Arkansas communities for generations.”
Alan Morse, Ritter Communications president, said, “Our partnership with Grain Management will allow us to accelerate hiring and the expansion of our fiber network plans. We have demonstrated we know how to grow the business. Grain Management recognized our proven track record and wanted the opportunity to partner with the Ritter family to grow the business and invest in what we’ve built here.”