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Telephone Service Co. (TSC) and Middle Point Home Telephone Co. (MPH) officials announced a merger Monday as TSC purchased the stock of the Van Wert-based telephone company.
TSC acquired the company and will pay MPH shareholders cash for their shares. The deal is subject to customary terms and conditions and is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2013.
“This deal means that currently as an incumbent telephone company we have two exchanges — Cridersville and Wapakoneta — and now we will have a third and that will be Middle Point which will be an additional exchange for our telephone company so we will grow a little bit by the acquisition,” TSC Chief Operating Officer Lonnie Pedersen said in a telephone interview Monday. “This also will give us an opportunity to have the ability to provide services around Middle Point such as Van Wert and Delphos by utilizing the existing fiber network that is in place already.”
Pedersen said TSC will add three full-time employees and more than 500 customers with the purchase of MPH.
Formed in 1903, the Middle Point Telephone Co. and the Middle Point Southern Telephone Co. merged to become MPH. The principal shareholders of the company have been the Pollock family since the early 1900s.
The telephone companies have similar histories of strong local ownership, MPH President Chad Pollock said in a news release.
“Both companies have a strong history of community support and service and MPH will be in good hands under the new ownership,” Pollock said. “Hanson Communications has been operating telephone companies for more than 60 years and since their acquisition of TSC have proven their commitment to Ohio customers.”
TSC is owned by Hanson Communications Inc., which is a family-owned communications company with operations in Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota. MPH will be the second acquisition in Ohio by Hanson Communications since acquiring TSC in June 2007.
Wes Hanson started Hanson Communications in 1951 in Clarkfield, Minn. and has since expanded the company to the 54th largest telecommunications company in the United States with more than 20,000 access lines, 9,390 cable television customers and more than 10,000 broadband customers.
Founded in 1895 in Wapakoneta, TSC expanded its services through the years to include cable television and Internet services as well as expanded its service area to include St. Marys, Cridersville, Lima and surrounding areas.
Pedersen explained this deal also was negotiated to expand the company’s customer base and to benefit its existing customers in Auglaize County as well as the future customers in Van Wert County.
“We think scale is important and we are trying to grow our company in a manner that will benefit all of our customers so we think anytime we can expand and get a little larger and provide services in a more efficient manner than we will,” Pedersen said.
The move will eventually mean an expansion of TSC’s local calling area which was expanded last year to include telephone exchanges in Allen and Auglaize counties as well as Celina.
“We expanded our calling area substantially last year so you can call all the land lines and cell phones in Allen and Auglaize counties and I don’t think our customers realize that the local calling area is a lot larger than it used to be and this is going to give us an opportunity to expand it even further,” Pedersen said. “The short answer is we will expand our local calling area even more in the near future.”