The Midwestern fiber builder and operator Everstream is expanding eastward into Pennsylvania, and they're doing it the fast way. Today they announced a definitive agreement to acquire both fiber and customers from Uniti that will give the company an instant presence across the state.
The assets cover 5,600 route miles of fiber, both intercity and metro with substantial depth in both the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metro areas. They will be opening local offices in both of those markets, and of course the assets will be connected back up to Everstream's existing footprint in Ohio. The deal expands Everstream's total footprint by 35% in one fell swoop and takes it brand new territory.
Everstream has already been busy investing $300M in expansion projects across the Midwest. Those efforts have been powered their majority owners at AMP Capital, so it will come as no surprise that the funds making the Uniti deal are coming from the same source.
Details of the transaction are not yet clear. Uniti's northeastern footprint is centered on the state of Pennsylvania, but extends also into New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. Uniti has been shifting its model more in the direction of leasing of assets and away from operations, with the Bluebird transaction being one big example.
This transaction could be something similar, with Uniti still owning some of its PA fiber assets, but selling off the operating assets and a chunk of the fiber itself whether outright or via IRUs etc. Everstream already did such a deal with Uniti in May for an 80-mile fiber network out in Milwaukee where it took over all but 24 fibers on a 144 fiber-count network.
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