SOURCE: Blackfoot Telecommunications Group

Blackfoot Telecommunications Group Blackfoot Telecommunications Group

October 31, 2012 13:40 ET

Blackfoot Acquires Cutthroat Communications Adding New Technologies & Competitive Services for Businesses Statewide

MISSOULA, MT--(Marketwire - Oct 31, 2012) - Blackfoot Telecommunications Group (Blackfoot) today announced that it will acquire Cutthroat Communications (Cutthroat), a telecommunications provider based in Bozeman with offices in Missoula and around the state. The process of integrating Cutthroat's operations into Blackfoot will begin immediately, and is scheduled to be complete by year end 2012. Cutthroat offers Internet, data transport and voice services to hundreds of enterprise businesses and residential customers across the state. This is the second acquisition for Blackfoot this year.

"Smart growth is a top priority for Blackfoot," said Bill Squires, Blackfoot's Chief Executive Officer. "With this acquisition we are gaining strong talent and innovative technology that builds on Blackfoot's successful IP network. It allows us to offer a new world of more competitive services to business customers in Montana and the region through the use of Cutthroat's advanced wireless and fiber connectivity." Collectively, these combined companies position Blackfoot as the region's business and technology leader.

Squires continued, "Everyone involved top to bottom is fully committed to ensuring a world-class and seamless transition. Customers will still see the same faces and hear the same voices. In fact, we're honored to involve Cutthroat employees in key leadership positions." Upon the close of the acquisition, Cutthroat employees will join the Blackfoot team to ensure continuity with the customer base and operations. Field technicians will retain their current positions in the same locations throughout Kalispell, Helena, Billings, Great Falls, Bozeman and Missoula. Blackfoot will continue to be headquartered in Missoula, MT, with these supporting offices throughout the state.

"Selling a company that one has created is always difficult, but I could not think of a better and more stable home for our employees and customers than Blackfoot. Their commitment to growing the customer base, ongoing technological enhancement of our plant, and keeping jobs in Montana were all keys to our decision to sell to them," said Roger Lang, Founder and Chairman of Cutthroat. "This deal brings together two companies rooted in Montana for the benefit of local businesses, which is a positive development for the state in these challenging times. I have greatly enjoyed building this business and creating what became an integral part of the Montana telecommunications industry, but I am also excited about the future prospects of the combined entities under Bill's leadership," said Lang.

"Blackfoot and Cutthroat have been good business partners in this market for years," said Squires. "This opportunity allows us to help improve the way local businesses connect, communicate and develop through more scalable bandwidth. We realized strengths in each other and saw substantial economic development benefits with the deal not only for Montana, but for adjacent states. Overall, it's really exciting and we're honored to be in this position."

Over the last 10 years, Cutthroat successfully focused on building a top tier IP network throughout the state using advanced wireless and fiber connectivity in its network. This cost-effective, efficient bandwidth delivery allows providers like Blackfoot to quickly respond to customer needs for bandwidth scalability.

According to Dave Martin, Blackfoot's Chief Technology Officer, Blackfoot will now serve multi-location businesses without geographic boundaries through advanced services like virtual server colocation, virtualized desktop and applications, disaster recovery, hosted business systems and more. "This acquisition is a tremendous boost to our five-year strategic technology plan. Cutthroat's expertise in wireless WAN technology and their statewide network integrates perfectly with Blackfoot's all-IP environment," continued Martin.

Jeff Tarbert, who has been leading Cutthroat's operations since 2008, said, "I look forward to working with Blackfoot to ensure the smoothest possible ownership transition. Customers should rest assured that Cutthroat and Blackfoot will be vigilant about maintaining the high quality of service they deserve and have come to expect from both companies."

Cutthroat and Blackfoot are currently implementing a transition plan for the benefit of all customers that will be implemented by the end of 2012 when the transaction is expected to close.

Blackfoot continues to serve as a key technology leader in the region. In January 2012, Blackfoot also acquired Modwest, a local web hosting company. The Blackfoot family of companies include Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative -- a member-owned cooperative; Blackfoot Communications -- a competitive local exchange company; and TeleSphere Software, Inc. a wholly-owned subsidiary that offers professional services to the telecommunications industry.

Blackfoot Telecommunications Group (Blackfoot) offers advanced telecommunications solutions to customers in Missoula and throughout Montana and Idaho including voice, data, IT and security services. Blackfoot's fiber optic network expands through 6,500-square-miles of Western Montana. Named after the Blackfoot River running through much of the territory it serves, Blackfoot was originally established in 1954 as Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative and is headquartered in Missoula, Montana. Blackfoot can be reached at 406-541-5000 or at http://www.blackfoot.com.

Cutthroat Communications (CCI) is a Montana-owned and operated telecommunications carrier offering enterprise customers reliable, secure and scalable Internet, data transport and voice services through its use of wireless and fiber optic technologies and a redundant, high quality network supported and managed by a Network Operation Center which monitors all enterprise circuits and proactively services customers. CCI is based in Bozeman with supporting operations throughout Montana.

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