Fiber M&A: FPL FiberNet Buys Grande’s Fiber

March 3rd, 2011 by · 1 Comment

I missed it on Monday, but FPL FiberNet has made a rather interesting move westward into Texas by purchasing the longhaul network assets of Grande Communications.  The thing about the fiber divisions owned by energy companies is that they tend not to make moves outside their home turf, except I guess for FPL.  Actually, I did hear a casual rumor last fall that there was something happening with FPL Fibernet and Texas, but I had been looking at Alpheus and hadn't known Grande was putting those assets up for sale.  And if I had known, FPL Fibernet still would probably not have topped my list of likely buyers.  Just shows how much I know, eh?

So FPL FiberNet now owns some 2,900 miles of longhaul fiber connecting the major cities in Texas with connectivity to the neighboring states of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.  Also picked up in the deal are metro loops in Dallas, San Antonio, Laredo, and Houston.

These network assets are currently unconnected to FPL FiberNet's main footprint in Florida plus Atlanta.  However, I can't help but think that they might have plans to fill that hole as well.  They could do it easily enough with dark fiber of some sort, but if they're feeling still more acquisitive then there's a better target.  The somewhat reclusive outfit Southern Light Fiber operates a large pile of fiber along the Gulf Coast that would fit rather well.

Categories: Mergers and Acquisitions · Metro fiber

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  • Jonathan Lee says:

    This is a good post, Rob, because it really illustrates just how well-kept a secret FPL FiberNet has been. They were always a very interesting company to me when I was at CompTel. They have an excellent network–hurricane-hardened–and, uniquely, they reach LEC central offices serving most of FL’s wireline demand. (Significant, because 3 major LECs serve FL’s biggest cities–AT&T, CenturyLink, and VZ). They also provide backhaul to most wireless carriers in the state.

    Here is what’s notable: with all the consolidation, and scramble, for fiber providers in the past few years, no one has presented FPL FiberNet with a high enough offer. I’ve asked a lot of active VCs about this, and FPL FiberNet is not priced at “looking to get out” value. These guys know what they have, won’t give it away, and I really like the expansion. This also might say more about the potential for smart-grid demand than has yet reached the public eye.

    I’m glad you reported on this. –Jonathan

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