LEWISTON — Oxford Networks has inked a deal to sell all of its stock for an undisclosed amount to the Montreal-based private equity firm Novacap.

Oxford President and CEO Craig Gunderson said Wednesday the deal will help the company move ahead with “product evolution.”

One of the first steps: an expansion at its two-year-old Data Center at Brunswick Landing, to be announced next week.

Oxford Networks employs about 120 people. That expansion could mean hiring 12 more.

Under the terms of the deal, which still faces shareholder and regulatory approval, Oxford Networks’ name will remain the same and it will keep its current management team and its office on Lisbon Street, Gunderson said.

Oxford Networks began as a traditional, rural phone company more than 100 years ago. Over the past 15 years, it’s grown much more high-tech, expanding in coverage area, business customers, fiber optics and IT services.

That growth requires a lot of capital, Gunderson said. The company had been searching for an investment partner for more than a year.

Novacap describes itself as “one of Canada’s largest private equity firms” where “it’s about more than just an investment; it’s about building world-class companies,” according to its website.

It’s a good fit in technology and culture, Gunderson said.

“What this financial partnership really gives us is the ability to continue to have the kinds of dialogue with customers (where we) understand what their needs are, come back into our product development and marketing teams and say, ‘Hey, this is what our customers are saying,'” he said. “Now we have a financial partner that has the wherewithal to allow us to continue to evolve the company along the lines that our customers are telling us they need to go.”

Matt Jancovic, executive vice president of sales and marketing, said the company will remain what people know as Oxford Networks.

“Novacap chose us because they like the Oxford Networks story — they like where we’ve been, they like where we’re going,” Jancovic said. “The people who serve our customers are still ‘Oxfordites.'”

Oxford Networks is not publicly traded but is shareholder-held. Last year, it reported a $2.8 million loss for 2012, which Gunderson attributed to the cost of launching the new data center, expenses in trying to raise capital and one-time charges.

“In 2013, we don’t have those items; the data center continues to make progress,” he said. “So we expect to have a stronger 2013 than we did in 2012.”

He hopes to see the Novacap deal passed by shareholders later this month and to get regulatory approval from the Maine Public Utilities Commission, the Federal Communications Commission and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States in the next three to five months.

The company declined to share the financial details of the sale, but officials said they would be released in several weeks.

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