Just before Christmas, publicly-held Cincinnati Bell agreed to be purchased by Brookfield Infrastructure. A transaction where an infrastructure fund buys a network operator and service provider is a straightforward story of course, but at the end of last week the story got more complicated. Another bid, err I mean non-binding proposal, has been made by another infrastructure fund.
Which infrastructure fund, you ask? Nobody is saying yet, though I doubt the name will escape notice for very long. It's hard to speculate among the various possible funds making a bid, as they don't make M&A decision the way a network operator might. One could, however, idly wonder if synergy with the regional assets owned by AMP (Everstream) or Macquarie (Bluebird) might be adjacent enough to give either reason to outbid Brookfield -- just sayin...
The new bid is for $12/share, a $1.50 premium to Brookfield's bid. That's enough to get the attention of Cincinnati Bell's board of directors, and they have commenced discussions with the new potential suitor. But they have also reaffirmed support for the Brookfield transaction.
That's all anyone knows for now, but it certainly suggests that an auction may break out. In the end though, an infrastructure fund will almost certainly take Cincinnati Bell private. The only question is the price.
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