The ongoing bidding for Zayo is now said to have come down to a single consortium of investment firms. According to Reuters this week, a group led by Digital Colony Partners LP, EQT AB, and Stonepeak Infrastructure partners is the last man standing.
The actual value of the deal on the table is not known, but said to value Zayo at $8-9B for the marketcap plus $5.9B in net debt. The stock price surged in response, however it’s still a ways below matching that buyout price rang so the market clearly isn’t sure things will go through.
But I’d say it’s pretty likely at this point, or at least more so than ever before. I think that Zayo’s foray into the public markets these past few years has not been the party they/we might have hoped. While private equity and wealth funds continue to pour money into infrastructure, public markets still put lower valuations on fiber and bandwidth and remain unimpressed about the short term results.
So while there is an element of fiduciary duty in fighting for the best price for shareholders, I think that Zayo’s management team has an incentive to take a deal when they do reach the threshold. They can then get back to the the main course of building out infrastructure with a longer term view.
The proposed leaders of the consortium (Digital Colony, EQT, Stonepeak) certainly know the space intimately already. Of course, they’ll still have to figure out the answers to the operational issues that have limited Zayo’s growth over the last year or so.
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