Norlight Acquires Netcom Group

December 13, 2004
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MILWAUKEE — Journal Communications Inc. announced Friday that its telecommunications company, Norlight Telecommunications Inc., has acquired the customer base and business assets of Grand Rapids-based Netcom Group for $1.5 million.

Formerly known as Executone of Western Michigan Inc., Netcom Group has provided networking, business telephone system and carrier services solutions to customers in the western and northern Michigan markets since 1967. With 50 employees, it is headquartered in Grand Rapids with a branch office in Traverse City.

“The acquisition provides Norlight with considerable opportunity to leverage our customer-focused business model and integrated voice and data solutions through a new relationship with the more than 1,000 Netcom Group customers,” said Norlight President Jim Ditter. “We believe the acquisition will significantly enhance our sales and service presence in the Grand Rapids, Lansing and Ann Arbor markets, which are important parts of our existing network footprint.

“Netcom Group’s depth of experience in Michigan — combined with its knowledge of telephone systems, networks, and carrier services — complement Norlight’s product offerings for the small and medium-sized business market.”

A division of publicly traded Milwaukee-based media and communications company Journal Communications, Norlight Telecommunications provides network services to the wholesale carrier market and integrated voice and data communications solutions to businesses.

Headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., Norlight has been serving business customers in mid- and smaller-sized cities in the Great Lakes region for 32 years and maintains sales offices in Green Bay and Madison, Wis.; Chicago; Lansing and Grand Rapids; St. Paul, Minn.; and Indianapolis, Ind.

Norlight boasts a SONET-based fiber optic network that provides redundancy to protect and reroute digital signals.

“We are very excited that our customers will now benefit from Norlight’s enhanced products and services — such as hosted IP telephony services, security solutions and managed networks,” added Kim Fettig, president of Netcom Group. “Both organizations are known for their superior level of customer satisfaction, which makes for a great fit.”

Journal Communications also owns and operates the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, more than 90 community newspapers in eight states, 38 radio stations and seven television stations in 11 states and an additional television station under a local marketing agreement.    

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