While you may not be familiar with the Reserve-based telecommunications company that acquired EATEL in December, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the two Baton Rouge businessmen who own its parent company.
Sean and Kevin Reilly—brothers and the top executives at Lamar Advertising—are also the owners of RTC Holdings LLC, which is the parent company of Reserve Communications and Computer Corporation, also known as RTC.
There was no mention of the Reillys in the Dec. 19 press release announcing RTC’s acquisition of EATEL, the Gonzales-based telecommunications provider. But the brothers are listed on the Secretary of State’s website as officers of RTC Holdings.
The Reillys, in fact, have owned RTC for more than a decade, buying it in 2007 from an investment group who purchased the company in 1998 from the Madere family. Prior to acquiring the company, the Reillys served on the RTC board.
Sean Reilly calls the EATEL acquisition a “marriage made in heaven” since RTC offers the same suite of telecommunications services in St. John and St. James parishes as EATEL does across numerous Capital Region parishes.
RTC reportedly beat out tough competition in the quest to land EATEL, though Reilly declines to name those companies. RTC’s advantage was that, like EATEL, it is a locally-owned south Louisiana company—both founded in 1935—and it has a fiber network that could “plug and play” into EATEL’s network.
“Our fiber ends where their fiber begins,” Reilly says, adding the acquisition opens opportunities to scale up and provide more resources to businesses and consumers.
“What I’m excited about is that this could bring to bear probably the most advanced fiber network covering all of our parishes,” Reilly says. “EATEL is ahead of the game in fiber.”
As for the company structure, don’t expect many changes. EATEL management and staff will not change, Reilly says, and the EATEL brand will also remain in Ascension and surrounding parishes, while the use of RTC will continue in St. John and St. James. The company also owns Vision Communications in Lafourche Parish, which will continue operating under that name.
“No one will know anything happened,” Reilly says. “The brands will stay the same.”
RTC has a customer base of about 27,000, including both businesses and individuals, he says, while EATEL’s customer base reaches 85,000.
The Reillys don’t have plans yet for additional growth. Instead, their focus is on wrapping up the deal, which is pending regulatory approval, and ensuring a smooth transition. But they see a lot of potential going forward.
“When you look at the quality of assets at Reserve and EATEL, there aren’t many companies that look like that,” Reilly says. “For now, we just want to digest this and make sure the integration happens seamlessly.”