On Tuesday morning, a meeting was held with the employees of DFT Communications. Its leadership team wanted to share information that was crucial to the firm's future: the family with a history of partnering with the community in its business and charitable efforts had reached a definitive agreement to purchase a controlling interest in the company.
Brick Skirt Holdings Inc., a newly formed company with the sole purpose of the acquisition of all of the outstanding shares of DFT Communications and the Dunkirk & Fredonia Telephone Co. as well as all of its holdings, is hoping to have the deal completed by the fall. It is led by three members of DFT's management team, Robert A. Maytum, Mark R. Maytum and Kurt W. Maytum, as well as family member Sheri Stoltenberg.
"We are thrilled to be able to bring the company home," said Mark R. Maytum, president and chief operating officer of DFT Communications. "It means that the jobs that we created will stay here and ensure that new jobs will continue to be created here. We believe in this community and this region. The purchase of DFT guarantees an investment in this area for years to come."
40 Temple St., Fredonia
Currently the company is owned by LICT Corp., which earlier this week expressed its approval of the sale. "We are delighted to return control of DFT to its founding family," said Mario J. Gabelli, chairman and chief executive officer. "We believe that this transaction serves the interests of both LICT shareholders as well as the community DFT serves."
Area officials are optimistic about the sale as well.
"I was extremely excited and happy to hear the news about DFT Communications," said County Executive Vince Horrigan.
"Local ownership is the backbone of a successful business climate for Chautauqua County. It is a great development."
DFT employees also praised the sale and are upbeat about the future.
"As a longtime employee, to me, this purchase shows the confidence that they have in us as employees, the company as a whole, and the community," said Paul Sellari. "It means that DFT will be here for generations to come."
Recently hired employees have also welcomed the news. "As a newer employee with their Netsync division, I see them constantly moving forward," said Jeff Beish. "It's rare to see a well-established company with such an entrepreneurial spirit."
For its part, Black Skirt Holdings leadership believes the purchase is an opportunity to create jobs in the area that will reflect many of the new services being offered by DFT. Some of those include the Hamburg Fiber Build/ION Network, which will enhance the visibility of the purchases as well as an expanded fiber network.
"We feel this brings along the visibility of DFT for a long time to come," Maytum said.
DFT Communications, which has been overseen by the Maytum family throughout its history, has been a part of the region for the last 116 years.
"Our family takes great pride in the fact that we have been a part of this community for generations both as a company and as residents," said Kurt Maytum, president and chief technology officer. "The purchase means that DFT will continue to be a contributing member of this region for generations to come."