Iserv acquired by Boston telecom company

August 6, 2012
| By Pete Daly |
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The Iserv Co. of Grand Rapids, which claims to be one of the largest independent Internet service providers in the Midwest, has been acquired by Boston-based 382 Communications. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Iserv CEO Vic Shepherd will continue to work at Iserv in an advisory capacity to 382 Communications management, he said.

All existing Iserv management, with the exception of the chief financial officer, will remain with the new company, according to Shepherd, and, he said, 382 is "going to move their national call center and their national billing operations here to Grand Rapids, so therefore we are expecting a tremendous amount of growth in employees."

Shepherd said 382 Communications has already announced it intends to hire more sales staff in Michigan, adding that the acquisition of Iserve "is a great growth opportunity for Grand Rapids as well as Iserv itself."

The Boston-based firm offers voice, data and network services to communications service providers and enterprise clients in the U.S. and other countries. The company said the acquisition of Iserv was a natural fit with its overall corporate strategy of developing emerging broadband markets across the country. It was organized in 2010, with a core management team that has worked together for more than 12 years, and now has in excess of $60 million in annual revenues, operating in 10 states with more than 120 employees.

The 382 Communications announcement said the Iserv name will remain in place, and the larger company will be leveraging its "expansive network and buying power to roll out new services at aggressive price points, including wireless and business class voice."

The company said it also plans to significantly increase sales, technical and support staff in the months ahead. The Iserv data center and headquarters on 33rd Street in Grand Rapids will serve as an expansion hub and the site of the national customer support and billing center for 382 Communications going forward.

"Iserv is an outstanding strategic addition to 382 Communications' current business and dramatically enhances our customer support and data center infrastructure," said Dan Koch, 382 Communications CEO. "Michigan is an important, technically sophisticated market, and we are looking forward to expanding the range of products and services available to Iserv customers. We are very happy to be in Grand Rapids and are committed to building on the great work Iserv has done to date."

Shepherd, who has been with Iserv since 2001 and was one of its owners, said Iserv has "a 17-year operating history, a loyal customer base, and an established reputation for cutting-edge technology backed by exceptional service."

The acquisition "will bring not just new services, but also an accelerated pace of innovation and growth over the long term. Their selection of Iserv is a great compliment to everyone on the Iserv team, and to our community," said Shepherd.

Following the transaction, Iserv and 382 Communications will continue to provide services under their current names, with 382 Communications maintaining its wholesale markets. Iserv will continue to provide Midwest coverage from Grand Rapids, and now will be able to offer nationwide coverage as a result of combining with 382.

"The Internet service provider industry is transforming," said Shepherd. "While both companies are strong and growing, the combination will allow Iserv to be more of a hybrid business that is more tech savvy, agile and collaborative than most traditional Internet service providers, with the customer realizing the benefits."

Iserv was founded in 1995 as a strictly residential Internet service provider, according to Shepherd, but today, it is a full-service telecom company, and about 80 percent of its customers are businesses.

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