Uniti Group has made another inorganic fiber move. The network REIT has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Southern Light.
Southern Light operates a metro and regional fiber network in the states along the Gulf of Mexico – Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgeia, and Northern Florida. That footprint encompasses 6,100 route miles of fiber hooking up almost 5,000 on-net buildings across 12 markets. The company has been closely held and for a long time looked as if it would stay aloof from the M&A in the sector. But eventually the price was right I guess. We interviewed Southern Light CEO Andy Newton here a couple years ago about the possibilities.
The assets complement Uniti Group’s Uniti Fiber division’s southern footprint well, adding depth, accessing new markets, and connecting the former PEG Bandwidth assets with those of TowerCloud to the east. The recently announced purchase of Hunt Telecom is also right there of course.
Uniti Group was born as a spinoff of Winstream’s fiber assets two years ago. This deal and those that have come before it will bring 30% of the company’s revenue in from other sources. Pro forma revenues will be above $1.2B annually. Uniti’s fiber operating business continues to grow relative to the triple-net-leases they started with.
Uniti will pay $700M for Southern Light in cash and stock. They expect to achieve annual run-rate cost savings of $10M in addition to the $2.5M they previously announced for the acquisition of Hunt.
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