EQT Infrastructure has closed its purchase of a majority stake in Spirit Communications, a transaction that was announced in August of last year. Then they unsurprisingly moved quickly to combine the company with Lumos Networks, which they closed the purchase of in November.
The combined company has some 21,000 route miles of fiber from the shores of Lake Erie down through Savannah, Georgia. That fiber hooks up some 9,000 on-net locations, half of which are of the wireless backhaul variety.
The footprints are adjacent, with little geographical overlap. Lumos had actually made a start on some fiber in the northern half of Spirit's Carolinas footprint prior to the purchase by EQT. But the vast majority of its revenues were from the Virginias and Pennsylvania.
With its supraregional fiber operator taking shape, the natural question is what else EQT might be looking to acquire to further fill out its footprint. They do seem to have a few options. I previously mentioned DQE in Pittsburgh and Southern Telecom down in Georgia, but there's always the possibility of a bigger deal with, say, FirstLight to the north. It all depends on which private equity guys are moving in which direction.
Lumos CEO Tim Biltz will be taking the reins of the combined company and its 900 employees, while Spirit's CEO Robert Keane and Chairman Brian Singleton will join the board of directors.