This week saw a bit of network M&A, as Zayo has made its second acquisition of 2022. The Boulder-based fiber operator has announced a definitive agreement to buy Education Networks of America, or ENA, from the private equity group ZMC.
ENA specializes in E-Rate projects. More specifically, they deliver managed network connectivity and security services to school districts and other public sector customers. The company’s efforts began in the communities of Tennessee, but has since expanded to a nationwide scope. That offers a path to growth which of course requires greater funding resources, which is something they will have under the auspices of Zayo.
The deal positions Zayo to more robustly address a segment of the industry that it hasn’t really leveraged much in the past. The E-Rate stuff they have done has been mostly at the fiber level, whereas fiber is not the only thing schools need. E-Rate deals have their own unique process and timeline, but can be a great way to get a foothold into new markets from which to grow. Zayo’s existing infrastructure reach and capability combined with ENA’s knowledge of the ins and outs of the education vertical seem like a good fit.
This is Zayo’s second purchase of the year, the first being for SD-WAN specialist QOS Networks. That deal also brought in a team capable of filling a niche that Zayo wanted to fill, suggesting a pattern. Rather than roll up more fiber assets, Zayo is building up its internal structure to better leverage the assets and capabilities it already has. Further such deals seem likely, though it’s not clear which direction might be next.
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