Iserv Buys Second Lakeshore ISP

June 17, 2002
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HOLLAND — The acquisition of another Holland-based Internet service provider gives The Iserv Co. a larger presence in shoreline markets as the company seeks to broaden its customer base.

In Intraworld Communications Inc., Iserv gets an additional base of about 2,500 residential and business subscribers in a broad service area that includes the core markets of Holland and Benton Harbor/St. Joseph.

Iserve saw in Intraworld a well-run company with a similar commitment to a high level of customer service that brought value to the Cascade Township-based ISP.

“It’s real simple. We were looking for specific organizations and management within those companies that represent what we want to deliver,” Iserve Chief Executive Officer Victor Shepherd said. “What we get from it is, we get good people and good customers.”

Intraworld, founded in 1998, gets a new parent company that offers a statewide dial-up network, a larger, modern data center, and additional services – such as its own high-speed DSL Internet service, rather than going through a third-party provider - to better serve customers. Joining Iserv, a former competitor that previously had about 40,000 residential and business customers, provides Intraworld the partner it needs to take “the next step” without having to incur the heavy capital costs required to expand and develop new service customers want, President Steven Stratton said.

“It’s economies of scale,” Stratton said. “It gives us a little more resources and a little more coverage and ultimately provides more and better services.”

Intraworld broadened its base a little more than a year ago with the acquisition of former ISP CPU Inc. in Benton Harbor.

Iserv, which picked up a strong customer base along the lakeshore with the May acquisition of EagleNet Inc. in Holland, provided Intraworld the best option that “we could be most efficient with” as it sought to grow further, Stratton said.

“We didn’t just jump to anybody,” he said. “Their goals and objectives are something we agree with.”

Intraworld customers will continue to use the same dial-up access numbers and e-mail addresses. Service packages and billing will remain the same during the transition.

Iserv plans to maintain the Intraworld name in the short term, Shepherd said. Intraworld will lose its facility in Holland and move into EagleNet’s office, said Stratton, who becomes an investor and will work in sales and engineering with Iserv.

The deal comes just weeks after Iserv acquired EagleNet and its base of 10,000 subscribers. EagleNet retained its name and office in Holland, operating as Iserv’s arm serving the lakeshore.

Iserve continues to look for new acquisition opportunities that fit with its criteria of bringing value to the company, Shepherd said.

“We’re obviously going to make sure everything goes right with these acquisitions, but if the right opportunity comes along, we’ll take a look at it,” he said.    

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