Consumer Cellular announced that it has agreed to sell a controlling stake to GTCR for an undisclosed amount. Based on the terms of the transaction, expected to close by the end of 2020, GTCR will acquire a majority interest in the company with existing shareholders retaining a significant minority position. The company will keep its current office and call center locations in Oregon and Arizona. Current CEO and Consumer Cellular co-founder John Marick will retire from the company once the deal is finalized. Marick will continue his involvement as an ongoing shareholder and will remain on the board of directors. Longtime wireless industry veteran, Ed Evans, will assume the CEO role at Consumer Cellular.
“Our decision to sell Consumer Cellular represents the next chapter in this company’s exciting 25-year history,” said Marick. “We looked long and hard for a partner who not only aligned with our values, but one who could continue the growth trajectory of our company well into the future. We found that in GTCR. They understand not only our focus on the senior demographic, but also the importance of strong customer service. We are excited to watch them take our beloved company to the next level.”
“When we first met with Consumer Cellular, we immediately felt a connection,” said David Donnini, managing director of GTCR. “Our values and approach to both employees and customers are very similar to John’s approach, and we believe it will enable us to continue investing in and growing Consumer Cellular.”
Stephen Jeschke, Managing Director at GTCR, added, “John and the management team have cultivated an amazing culture throughout the past 25 years, and we appreciate them putting their trust in GTCR to continue to provide affordable, reliable and accessible cellular service to their customers well into the future. We are thrilled to be partnering with Consumer Cellular at this exciting time in the company’s evolution.”
Just last week, Consumer Cellular celebrated its 25th anniversary with a $2.5 million donation to Toys for Tots. This week, the company shared the acquisition celebration with each of its almost 2,000 employees by announcing part of the proceeds will be distributed to them throughout the next year. Eligible employees will receive up to the equivalent of a year and a half worth of their current yearly salary. “It is because of our valued employees that we’ve reached the point of acquisition. We are so proud of the work they do every day supporting our nearly four million customers, and we could not be more thrilled to share with them this gift in gratitude for all their hard work,” continued Marick.
Consumer Cellular, founded in 1995 in Portland, now has nearly 2,000 employees at its offices based in Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona and Portland and Redmond.
BofA Securities acted as exclusive financial advisor to Consumer Cellular, Inc. Kell, Alterman & Runstein, LLP served as legal advisor. Credit Suisse and Raymond James served as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to GTCR.