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The Deal: Time Warner Cable Buys DukeNet in Play for Broadband Customers

New York (TheStreet) -- Time Warner Cable (TWC)said Monday it would pay $600 million for fiber network operator DukeNet Communications LLC, the latest example of a cable operator buying market share in the business telecom market.

Owned by Duke Energy (DUK)and Alinda Capital Partners LLC, DukeNet provides services to wireless telecoms, data center operators and corporate and government clients in the Southeast.Greenwich, Conn., private equity firm Alinda paid $137 million for a 50% stake in DukeNet in 2010.

The Daily Deal reported in May that Duke and Alinda were shopping the company. At the time, sources expected the company to fetch $450 million to $500 million. PE-backed fiber operator Zayo Group LLC was thought to be as suitor.

As growth has slowed in the residential market, cable operators have targeted the business market. Time Warner Cable purchased hosting and cloud services provider NaviSite Inc. for $230 million in 2011.

"The returns are very visible to us," Minson said of commercial services, "and it's a place that we are excited to be investing money."

Fellow pay-TV company Cox Communications Inc. said it would buy Oklahoma fiber networker EasyTel Communications Inc. in September. Bright House Networks LLC, which is a portfolio company of Time Warner Cable and Condé Nast publisher Advance Publications Inc., acquired Florida-based cloud services company Televations Inc.

Comcast (CMCSA)has picked up Chicago carrier Cimco Communications Inc. and New Global Telecom Inc., of Golden, Colo. David Parker, Shariar Mohajer and Rachel Stack of RBC Capital Markets LLC ran the process for Duke and Alinda, which retained a team including Steve Hope and Rob Rust from Moore & Van Allen PLLC as counsel.

Peter Barrett, Jeffry Hardin, Kate Price, Karl Fryzel and Katie Day of Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP advised Time Warner Cable.

The parties expect to close the deal in the first quarter of 2014.

--By Chris Nolter in New York

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