With so much activity in the past few weeks, there has only really been time to take one quick look at things and move on. Time to take a breath and a second glance.
EarthLink - The more I look at their intended purchase of Deltacom, the more it seems unfinished to me. The synergies with the company's New Edge business aren't large enough to make this work out. EarthLink's core competency right now is generating cash off assets that are out of favor, but as is, there isn't enough cash that will come off Deltacom to justify things. Deltacom has been streamlining itself for years, there's not much to cut. IMHO EarthLink is clearly planning to buy additional fiber/CLEC assets to go with it. Doesn't make sense to me any other way.
In the northeast, we have three independent regional players left: Sidera Networks, Lightower, and Fibertech. All three are held by private equity, and all three are hungry for more assets - but where can they turn for new meals? Other than on each other I mean. Probably down the I-95 corridor is my guess.
Someone asked me the other day what other big power companies are still holding onto non-core fiber assets, given the various action and rumors around Dukenet, AGL Networks, and NSTAR. I'd throw in DQE out in Pittsburgh, FPL Fibernet down in Florida, Southern Telecom in Florida and Georgia, SRPNet out in Phoenix, and Edison Carrier out in southern California. Not that they're all for sale (maybe none of them), but they are of that type of asset. Did I miss any?
Recent rumors - From what I hear, both NSTAR up in Boston and Alpheus down in Texas are close to deals. Not that it should shock anyone, seems like almost every small to medium sized fiber operator that has sought a buyer this year has had no trouble finding one. But more recently, I have unconfirmed whisperings that FPL Fibernet may be in the game now as well.
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