Marked Tree, Ark. (May 17, 2019) - The board of E. Ritter and Company of Marked Tree, Arkansas has approved an initiative to seek an equity partner for its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ritter Communications, to enable the regional broadband company to accelerate its strategic growth plan.
Chip Dickinson, CEO of E. Ritter and Company, said, “The decision to raise equity capital to support Ritter Communications was driven by its opportunity for faster growth.” Dickinson added, “Our board has directed management to find a compatible equity partner that embraces our shareholders’ commitment to our employees and the communities we serve.”
Alan Morse, Ritter Communications president, said, “Ritter Communications recognizes the digital divide - the need for state-of-the-art broadband services in underserved communities. As we have expanded our network into new markets over the past several years to meet that need, we’ve been met with enthusiastic customer and community response. That proven track record has allowed us to think beyond our original expansion plans,” he said. “We are now actively pursuing a new equity partner who will help accelerate our growth, enhance the company’s future and sustain the culture that has contributed to our success.”
Morse said, “Our focus remains on customers and providing them with the products and services they need to be successful. We continue to expand our state-of-the-art fiber network, invest in technology and grow our business. Our “Right by You” pledge to our customers and communities will continue and will be further supported with a new equity partner.”
Ritter Communications has invested over $100 million in fiber expansion over the last ten years, and the infrastructure investments have driven unprecedented levels of growth at the 100+ year old company. In February, Ritter Communications announced a $7 million broadband fiber infrastructure project to bring ultra-high speed internet and data services to Hot Springs businesses. The Hot Springs fiber project is scheduled for late summer completion. Other investments and acquisitions in recent years have allowed Ritter Communications to expand residential and business services in a growing number of regional communities.
The company anticipates an equity partner announcement in the third quarter of this year.
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About Ritter Communications
Ritter Communications, headquartered in Jonesboro, began providing local phone service in 1906. Today, Ritter Communications serves 89 communities and more than 45,000 customers across Arkansas, southeast Missouri and west Tennessee. The family-owned company has grown steadily over the years, expanding rapidly since 2010 and is now the largest privately-held regional broadband fiber, telecom, video and cloud services provider in the state. 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. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of E. Ritter and Company that also operates Ritter Agribusiness and Ritter Investment Holdings.
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 operating subsidiaries also 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.