Thanks to a few helpful readers who chimed in last night since I obviously hadn't dug up the news, we now know of another metro fiber deal currently pending. Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) is apparently in the process of buying the San Francisco Bay Area's IP Networks Inc. (IPN).
IPN has spent most of its time well under the radar, but operates some 750 route miles of Californian fiber hooking up 140 enterprise buildings and 33 data centers with particular depth in downtown San Francisco itself. Recently they also built a fiber route up to Eureka to the north. It's built off of electric utility rights of way, and a few years back won a T-MobileUSA wireless backhaul deal for the metro area.
The assets will help boost Level 3's ability to serve enterprises in the Bay Area. Their network assets in California have historically been wholesale-focused as compared to the east coast where some of the metro fiber M&A's of years past gave them more enterprise depth.
In terms of size, this purchase will be quite small and non-material for Level 3. But along with the FiberSpan deal over in the UK in the second half of last year, it reflects a much more understated approach to M&A by the folks in Broomfield. They're buying interesting fiber assets that will help them reach more customers, yet deliberately staying under the radar unless it's a major deal that forces them into the open. I wonder if they have further targets of this type already in the works.
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