Feb 02, 2000

Utilicom Networks Secure $100 Million Commitment from Blackstone

FRANKLIN, MA, February 2, 2000 – Utilicom Networks, LLC, a provider of bundled communications services under the TOTALink brand name, today announced a commitment of up to $100 Million by affiliates of Blackstone Capital Partners III (“BCP III”). Utilicom builds and operates broadband communications networks in partnership with local electric and gas utilities to deliver voice, video, Internet and data services to business and residential customers. Utilicom Networks’ first operation in Evansville, IN serves over 11,000 customers on a network being built in partnership with Southern Indiana Gas & Electric (SIGECO).

“We’re pleased to be working with The Blackstone Group,” said Utilicom Networks Chairman and CEO E. Craig Sanders. “This is truly an historic day in our plan to implement the provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 by delivering competitive services to all customer classes on a facilities-based network in second and third tier cities. Blackstone’s broad experience with cable and telecom companies and their expertise in corporate partnerships will be invaluable to us in expanding our business.”

“We believe the market for broadband network services will be well served by new, state of the art facilities-based competitors in the local loop,” commented Mark T. Gallogly, President and CEO of Blackstone Communications Advisors. “We believe Utilicom’s success with SIGECOM, Utilicom’s first joint venture, will be replicable in its future markets.”

“Utilicom’s partnership approach improves the likelihood of success by ensuring adequate local facilities as well as brand recognition among consumers. This approach continues Blackstone’s investment strategy of investing in corporate partnerships,” noted Bret D. Pearlman, Senior Management Director of the Blackstone Group.

Utilicom Networks has targeted 22 markets serving more than 30 cities in three regional territories. Discussions continue with potential utility partners in most of these markets to launch services in the near future, according to Sanders. “Our concept of delivering high quality broadband services and superior customer care in conjunction with a well-respected local utility provides our customers with significant value. It also provides our utility partners with opportunities to enhance their existing relationships in their communities. We intend to be the provider of choice for local and long distance voice, data, video and Internet services for businesses and residences in every market we enter.”

The Blackstone Group is a private investment bank based in New York City. It was founded in 1985 by its Chairman, Peter G. Peterson, and its President and CEO, Stephen A. Schwarzman. Blackstone is a leader in private equity investing, and is currently in the process of investing its Blackstone Capital Partners III fund, which represents approximately $4 billion of equity capital. The Blackstone Group is also engaged in five other business areas including Mergers and Acquisitions Advisory, Restructuring and Reorganization Advisory, Private Equity Real Estate Investing, Private Mezzanine Investing, and Liquid Alternative Asset Investing.