Marked Tree, Ark. (November 1, 2019) – Grain Management (“Grain”), a leading, Washington, D.C.-based investor in the global communications industry, together with E. Ritter and Company, announced today that it had completed its acquisition of a majority stake in Ritter Communications. A leader among local independent communications providers in Tennessee and Arkansas, Ritter Communications offers internet, phone, video services and cloud solutions to business, residential and wholesale customers.
Alan Morse, Ritter Communications CEO, said, “Grain Management’s vision for the future of the company, coupled with their industry expertise make this an exciting partnership. Together, we are focused on growth, hard work and maintaining best-in-class customer service and community support. Finding the right partner whose culture is congruent to those values was central to our search and we are excited to be working together.”
Grain invested in Ritter Communications with its current owner, E. Ritter and Company, whose family owners have led the business for five generations since it began providing local telephone service in 1906. Over the last 10 years, Ritter Communications has invested over $100 million in local expansion and today boasts one of the largest, high-capacity fiber optic networks in the region.
“We are excited about the possibilities for the future that this partnership will allow. We’re in a unique position because of our state-of-the-art fiber technology,” said Ronda Ritter Ray, lead family director and fourth-generation Ritter family shareholder. “The communities we serve are near and dear to our hearts, and our family is looking forward to the next chapter of Ritter Communications growth.”
Recent Ritter Communications expansion projects include a $7 million broadband fiber infrastructure project in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the construction of its state-of-the-art Data Technology Center on its campus in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and a multi-million dollar broadband fiber network expansion in Harrison, Arkansas.
Cowen and Company, LLC served as exclusive financial adviser to E. Ritter and Company and Ritter Communications in the transaction. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP served as legal counsel. TD Securities served as financial advisor to Grain Management in the transaction. Alston & Bird LLP served as Grain Management legal counsel. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
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About Ritter Communications
Ritter Communications, headquartered in Jonesboro, Arkansas, began providing local phone service in 1906. Today, Ritter serves 90 communities and more than 45,000 customers across Arkansas, southeast Missouri and west Tennessee. The company has grown steadily over the years, expanding rapidly since 2010 and is now the largest privately-held regional fiber, telecom, video and cloud services provider in the Mid-South. Ritter invests heavily in the communities it serves by deploying proven, best-in-class infrastructure and technology while coupling it with a world-class customer focused experience. Ritter Communications is a portfolio company of Grain Management, LLC, a leading investor in the communications sector. The company also remains a significant holding of E. Ritter and Company. For more information, visit www.rittercommunications.com.
About Grain Management, LLC
Grain Management, LLC is a leading, Washington, D.C.-based investor focused on the global 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 skill set, marked by extensive operating history, quantitative and analytical proficiency, and regulatory expertise. For more information, visit www.graingp.com.
About E. Ritter and Company
Founded in 1886 and headquartered in Marked Tree, Arkansas, E. Ritter and Company is a multi-generational family-owned company. Throughout its history and continuing today, the company has been a key employer and strong community advocate in all communities the company serves. In addition to Ritter Communications, its portfolio of companies includes Ritter Agribusiness and Ritter Investment Holdings. Ritter Agribusiness owns and/or manages over 40,000 acres of farmland and produces a diversified mix of row and specialty crops. Ritter Investment Holdings was recently formed to identify and acquire additional operating businesses to diversify the company’s portfolio. The company was recognized nationally in 2019 as one of 30 Exceptional Business Families by Family Business magazine.