Late last week we had a bit of fiber consolidation in the far northeast between two companies that historically haven't gotten much attention. Oxford Networks and BayRing Communications have agreed to a deal in which the two companies will merge their assets into a network stretching up the east coast from Boston deep into Maine.
The deal was engineered by Montreal-based private equity firm Novacap, which bought Oxford Networks last year for some $50M. BayRing's New Hampshire-focused footprint and Oxford's Maine reach fit together nicely on a map, and add up to about 2,000 route miles of fiber and four data centers.
Oxford had been in dire financial straights for a while before Novacap came into the picture. Now the question is whether Novacap has what it wants, or is still hungry for further M&A. It also owns the Canadian fiber operator Fibrenoire on the other side of the border as well as the cloud infrastructure company Host.Net.
A logical potential target could be FirstLight Fiber, which operates a fiber network that overlaps in New Hampshire in Maine while stretching through Vermont over to Albany, New York. Of course, the inverse could be said about FirstLight Fiber and its owner Riverside Partners, which could easily see Fibrenoire and/or Oxford/BayRing as a target of its own.
What name the merged Oxford/BayRing entity will operate under was not given, nor were financial details.