John C. Pietila

John Pietila is a shareholder of the Davis Brown Law Firm, current President of the Board of Directors, and chairs the Telecommunications and Utilities department. As a member of the Business Division, John practices primarily in the areas of Telecommunications and Utilities, Agribusiness and Cooperatives, Business Organizations and Transactions, and Mergers and Acquisitions. John assists clients in managing risks and capitalizing on opportunities associated with innovative business strategies and evolving regulatory frameworks.

He frequently serves as outside general counsel to clients, advising those clients on ongoing strategic, transactional, corporate and regulatory matters. John is admitted to practice before the Iowa District Courts, Iowa Courts of Appeals and the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern District of Iowa.

Representative Experience

Mergers, Acquisitions and Business Opportunities
John advises clients in connection with strategic transactions and joint ventures, including a wide range of mergers, acquisitions and investments. He works closely with clients to understand their business objectives and to assist in developing and implementing successful acquisition, investment and exit strategies. He has recently represented:

  • A buyer in the strategic acquisition of a diversified Iowa RLEC, including CLEC, wireless and cable television business units.
  • A group of Iowa RLECs in the formation of a joint venture to acquire an independent cable television provider.
  • A multistate hog production company in a liquidating reorganization of real estate and operating assets.
  • A Tier 3 wireless carrier in connection with the sale of wireless spectrum and operating assets to a Tier 1 wireless carrier.
  • Sellers in the sale of two jointly managed high rise, HUD-insured multifamily housing projects.
  • A real estate developer in the restructuring and recapitalization of its joint venture partnership and underlying credit facilities for a portfolio of multifamily housing projects.
  • A commodity trade association in the co-development and commercialization of a privately developed crop insurance product.
  • A private equity fund in connection with convertible debt financing and strategic equity investments in start-up and early-stage communications and technology companies.

Financing and Rural Economic Development
John assists clients in connection with negotiating and structuring credit facilities and targeted equity investments to finance current operations and future growth. Much of his work involves financing for rural telecommunications companies, agribusiness companies and other businesses which create or facilitate growth through investment in rural America, including through United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Programs and USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) lending programs. He has recently represented:

  • A borrower in obtaining an RUS Telecommunications Loan to fund the expansion of fiber-based telecommunications services in its Iowa service areas.
  • A lender in making a Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) Program loan to fund the expansion of a local manufacturer’s production and distribution facilities.
  • A rural telecommunications company in its successful application for an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) loan/grant combination to fund the buildout and upgrade of broadband facilities in Iowa service areas.  
  • A lender in applying for qualification as an eligible lender under the USDA Business and Industry (B & I) Guaranteed Loan Program and Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) Guaranteed Loan Program.

Telecommunications and Emerging Technologies
John works closely with wireline and wireless telecommunications companies, cable television providers, broadband providers and other communications and technology companies in a wide range of business, regulatory, policy, contractual and transactional matters. He supports clients as they navigate rapid and game-changing shifts in business strategy and regulatory policy, including the evolution of Internet Protocol (IP)-enabled networks, the convergence of fixed and mobile services and the expansion of effective competition. John is general counsel for the Iowa Communications Alliance and serves on the Legal Committee for NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association. He has recently represented:

  • A group of Iowa RLECs in the organization of a joint venture entity to develop and enhance joint operating strategies, leverage operating and network assets and achieve economies of scale across their business operations.
  • Telecommunications and broadband service providers in the development of residential and business and enterprise service contracts, terms and conditions of service and acceptable use and data privacy policies.
  • Cable television (CATV), Internet Protocol television (IPTV) and broadband providers in connection with video content acquisition, including cable affiliation agreements and broadcast retransmission consent agreements.
  • Rural telecommunications companies and broadband providers before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) and in the courts in matters arising out of the Telecommunications Act and state telecommunications laws.
  • A consortium of Tier 3 wireless carriers in developing and implementing a joint strategy for expanding access to wireless spectrum resources and deploying Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband services.
  • Telecommunications and broadband providers in negotiating contracts for business and enterprise services, the purchase and sale of telecommunications facilities and systems and the licensing of technology, content and data across service platforms.
  • Telecommunications and broadband providers in connection with applicable federal and Iowa regulatory frameworks, including FCC, IUB and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consumer privacy and data security regulations.