There’s a Reuters report out this morning (last evening actually) that Verizon may be about to return to the fiber M&A scene. The wireless giant and incumbent provider is said to be talking with the cable operator WideOpenWest about the latter’s Chicago fiber network.
WOW has some 1,200 route miles of fiber in the region (see left) which were apparently built out largely to support Verizon’s backhaul needs in the first place. Apparently they have been looking at monetizing it after not getting the uptake they expected from enterprise customers.
Verizon bringing that asset in house is certainly a reasonable idea, and would tie in interestingly with the recent purchase of XO Communications. While much is made of the wireless spectrum angle of that deal, XO’s fiber footprint is surely a part of Verizon’s public efforts to densify its backhaul networks nationwide in preparation for 5G. They recently committed to more than a billion dollar deal with Corning for the fiber they’ll need to do that.
On the other hand, if WOW’s Chicago network is indeed on the block more generally, then there would probably be other buyers out there. Zayo, Uniti, and Crown Castle immediately spring to mind. The supposed price of above $200M would be easily within the reach of any of those.
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