‘Lawrence Journal-World’ Parent Sells Sunflower Broadband Business

By: E&P Staff

Knology of Kansas Inc. will acquire Sunflower Broadband from The World Co., according to a report in the latter’s Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World. The buyer is a new business of West Point, Ga.-based Knology Inc., provider of telephone, Internet and broadband services in six states.

The deal was inked Aug. 3, and Sunflower employees were informed the next morning. Knology sources told the Journal-World that the transaction was worth $165 million. Closing is expected in the fourth quarter. World Co. personnel will provide the system’s 6News with programming under a contract with Knology of Kansas.

In the late 1960s, the Journal-World‘s then-publisher, Dolph C. Simons Jr., returned from an American Newspaper Publishers Association meeting intrigued by discussion of what is now called cable TV. An expert invited to evaluate Lawrence decided that broadcast signals from Kansas City and Topeka made it a poor candidate for “community antenna” service, according to the newspaper.

Simmons thought otherwise, and his father, who ran the paper’s parent company, agreed to proceed, and Sunflower Cablevision was created. Hosting locally originated programming, adopting new technology, and becoming an Internet access provider and telephone company, the company became Sunflower Broadband. (In its deal with Knology, the newspaper noted, the World Co. was represented by RBC Daniels, successor to the business of the expert who advised against cable in Lawrence.)

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