The giant Internet Service Provider (ISP), EarthLink, has bought Huntsville, Alabama-based Deltacom. Deltacom is a Southeastern regional telephone company with numerous customers in Mobile and Baldwin Counties.
In the transaction, EarthLink paid $199 million in cash and assumed Deltacom debt for the remainder of the acquisition cost. The total purchase price represents a multiple of 4.7 times Deltacom’s most recent annual adjusted cash flow.
EarthLink was founded in 1994 by then 23-year old whiz kid Sky Dayton. Dayton spent days trying to configure his own computer for Internet access. From this frustrating experience, he realized there was an opportunity to create a better ISP.
Deltacom is the result of several mergers during past decades. EarthLink has also been busy in recent years gobbling up related companies. EarthLink’s corporate headquarters is in Atlanta.
Chinese buy Mobile-based Teledyne Continental Motors for $186 million
In another corporate acquisition with local impact, a Chinese company has bought Mobile-based Continental Motors from Teledyne Technologies, Inc. Headquartered at Brookley, Continental Motors is a manufacturer of piston engines used in general aviation aircraft around the world. The firm employs approximately 400 workers in Mobile, Alabama
Officials of the Chinese company, AVIC International Holding Corporation, indicated they plan to retain the senior management of Continental Motors and maintain the firm’s international headquarters in Mobile. AVIC is already a supplier for such corporate giants as Boeing, Airbus and Honeywell.
Rhett Ross, president of Continental Motors, expressed enthusiasm about the opportunity to work with the AVIC International team. Ross said the new owners will greatly strengthen Continental’s market access and allow Continental to continue to be a global leader in the aviation piston engine industry.
From China, AVIC officials said they were attracted to Continental because of its long history in the marketplace and its reputation for product quality and safety. Further, the AVIC Chief Executive Officer said they were impressed with Mobile’s international focus and the growing concentration of aviation related companies in the area.
The airplane I occasionally pilot, a Cessna 172, is equipped with a Continental engine. That particular model 150 horsepower Continental engine has the best reliability record of all piston aircraft engines in the world, bar none. Let’s hope the Chinese live up to their promise to maintain Continental’s sterling reputation in the industry.
Airlines serving Mobile, Alabama among the lowest rated
Speaking of aviation, the Middle Seat organization has just released their annual customer service rankings of the nine major domestic airlines. The overall rank is determined by the carrier’s on-time record, cancelled flights, lost bags, bumped passengers and customer complaints.
Mobile is served by four airlines. All of the four were near or at the bottom in customer satisfaction. Overall, Delta was worst of the nine domestic airlines. American was second from the bottom and United was third from the bottom. U.S. Airways which also serves Mobile was ranked number five of nine in the survey.
In the individual categories, Delta cancelled the most flight and had the most customer complaints. American lost the most bags and Continental bumped the most passengers.
The top rated airline in the country, AirTran, does not serve Mobile but does have flights out of Pensacola.
William Bruce is a business broker and appraiser with Sunbelt Business Brokers. He currently serves as president of the American Business Brokers Assocaition. He may be reached at (251) 990-5910 or by email at WilliamBruce@bellsouth.net.