While Vodafone and Liberty Global may not be getting any swaps in this year, it does look like there may yet be a bit more consolidation among fiber network operators in Europe before the year is out. Rumors have reached me from several directions now that the Digiweb Group may be ready to part with Viatel.
Digiweb bought Viatel back in May of 2013 and combined it with its Irish and UK assets, breathing some life into what had been an underdeveloped asset since the dot com bubble days. Digiweb’s Colm Piercy was speculated to be looking to use the purchase as a consolidation platform, taking aim at additional infrastructure assets in western Europe. However, the process of consolidation has been generally slower and more expensive than many, including me, thought it might be. Piercy is now said to be looking to cash out instead.
Potential buyers mentioned in this context have been Zayo, euNetworks, and Teliasonera. Both Zayo and euNetworks would be obvious candidates, with both significant geographical expansion and synergies to be had for each. euNetworks has more overlap and would have more synergies available, but of course Zayo has more raw financial firepower. I’m not sure where Teliasonera would fit, but they obviously have the resources to outbid either if they want to. I haven’t heard that Level 3 or Interoute is in the mix, but I’d be significantly surprised if they weren’t. And Vodafone seems like another possibility. So there is no dearth of potential buyers.
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