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Cell Tower Companies Expand by Joining Forces

Cable Engineering Services in Mission Hills was acquired by Motive Energy Telecommunications, an Orange County-based firm, in a transaction that closed last month between the two telecom companies. Cable Engineering will remain as a separate operating company with founder Lynn Prescott staying on as its chief executive. The company has about 100 employees and provides engineering services for cell tower sites for wireless carriers and fiber optic systems. Most of the work done by the company is in the public right of way, Prescott said. “We put cables and equipment on the utility poles in the street,” she added. Bob Istwan, chief executive of Motive, said it was the company’s third acquisition in the last two years. “It has been a nice model as long as we are picking and choosing ones that are a good footprint for us,” Istwan said. Motive Energy employs 180 workers generated $40 million in revenue in 2016. Istwan would not disclose the purchase price for the acquisition, which was funded by Comerica Bank. He said what was paid upfront to Prescott is just a portion of what she can make as she will stay with the company. “A lot of the deal is an earnout as opposed to a buyout,” Istwan said. “It is hard to put a dollar figure to that.” Justin Blaine, a managing director with Mentor Group, a Westlake Village investment banking firm representing Istwan in the deal, said that it came about at Prescott’s suggestion. She had received an unsolicited offer to buy the company but it was her preference to sell to someone who was in the telecom industry already. “She did not talk to a whole bunch of groups; she felt like this would be the right fit,” Blaine said. Motive Energy Telecommunications provides maintenance for cell towers, while Prescott’s company provides the front-end engineering to install new towers. “Putting these teams together will build one really good engineering and construction firm,” Prescott added. Cable Energy Services primarily serves customers in Southern California. Motive has a much larger footprint extending into Northern California, southern Nevada and through Arizona and New Mexico into Texas. The goal is for both companies to market their services to the other’s traditional customers. Google Awards Sada Systems Inc. has received two awards from Google Inc. for helping clients use Google Cloud and Google Maps platforms to transform their businesses. The North Hollywood tech company was given two Google Cloud 2016 Americas Partner Awards for its sales, marketing and technical support that help customers achieve organizational goals and improving productivity. With Google Maps, for instance, Sada has helped customers use the platform to create custom, location-based applications for fee-based websites, internal resources mobile applications and asset-tracking applications. Joe Kosco, vice president of sales for the Google practice at Sada, said it was gratifying to be recognized by Google. “Our customers are eager to modernize IT, and they know that Google’s diverse set of cloud services enable better collaboration and productivity,” Kosco said in a statement. “We’re grateful to the many customers that have entrusted us to help them transform the way they work.” Sada’s Google practice grew 120 percent last year and the company is making investments in that business. Sada clients include Colgate-Palmolive Co., Marriott International Inc., PepsiCo Inc., FedEx Corp. and the city of Chicago. Optimistic Entrepreneurs The second annual Southern California Startup Outlook from Silicon Valley Bank revealed that tech entrepreneurs are cautiously optimistic that business conditions will improve this year. Respondents are planning to hire this year as well as expecting that mergers and acquisitions will see an increase. The outlook was released last week. Seventy-three percent of the respondents, for instance, said they will expand their workforces while 26 percent said they would keep staffing at the same level. Forty-eight percent identified attracting talent as the most important public policy issue facing their company, followed by health care costs at 46 percent and cyber security and corporate taxes at 30 percent. The findings in the startup outlook are pulled from a larger survey of nearly 950 tech and health care entrepreneurs primarily in the U.S., United Kingdom and China. About 10 percent of the respondents were from Southern California, an area defined as stretching from San Luis Obispo to San Diego. Silicon Valley Bank, a business bank focused on technology and wineries based in Santa Clara, has 13 branches in California, including one in Sherman Oaks. Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or [email protected].

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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