On March 15, 2019, the FCC approved the transfer of Le-Ru Telephone Company of Stella, MO to STEL-CO, a Missouri corporation owned by Jay Mitchell. The transaction was originally announced back in November of 2018.
Le-Ru Telephone Company provides voice and broadband services in and around the towns of Stella and Powell in Missouri. The company also offers wireless broadband services in nearby areas outside of its regulated service area. Le-Ru participates in the FCC’s ACAM funding program.
STEL-CO is a newly formed entity owned by Jay Mitchell. The Mitchell family in Arkansas have been consolidating small RLECs for a number of years in the region where Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma intersect, operating under the brand names ARK-O and SGO Broadband. Those RLEC’s include Seneca Telephone Company, Goodman Telephone Company, Ozark Telephone Company, Cleveland County Telephone Company, Decatur Telephone Company and Wyandotte Telephone Company.
Le-Ru’s service area is adjacent to Goodman Telephone Company’s.
The Le-Ru pick up benefits the Mitchell’s with increased economies of scale and operating flexibility as a result of Le-Ru’s ACAM status and relaxed regulations associated with it. Although, the Mitchell’s will be subject to FCC restrictions on cost-shifting as their other RLEC properties are on legacy high cost support, similar to the expense restrictions the FCC placed on Hilliary Communications acquisition of Border to Border Communications.
Financial terms were not disclosed.