One of the fiber M&A events that has defied all prediction for more than a decade finally has happened. The regional network infrastructure company FiberLight will soon have new ownership. It’s not a strategic buyer though, but rather a consortium led by Morrison & Co that will acquire FiberLight as a platform for investment & growth.
Thermo Companies has owned the company since 2006 when it acquired Xspedius and carved out the company’s fiber construction business to form FiberLight. Thus they were early to the metro and regional fiber game, and backed FiberLight in the buildout of their footprints in northern Virginia, DC and Maryland, Florida, Georgia, and Texas. Today that footprint stretches some 18,000 route miles connecting 30 metro areas and passing 78K near-net buildings.
It had long been speculated that those assets would be rolled up by one of the many active buyers of the past 15 years, with Zayo being a common thought. The company frequently showed up on our surveys of the industry’s likeliest M&A targets. But Thermo knew what it had and held on tight. However, it seems even Thermo has a lifecycle for its investments — or perhaps more accurately they finally found someone who would meet their price.
Morrison & Co along with others such as Australian Retirement Trust and a managed client of UBS Asset Management, will take over and put resources behind FiberLight’s ongoing network expansion. It’s Morrison & Co’s first digital infrastructure investment in North America, and one can envision them using FiberLight as a consolidation platform. Yet it’s not yet clear what direction they might take in this sector. Other digital infrastructure companies in their portfolio, however, include Vodafone NZ, Amplitel Towers, CDC Data Centres, and Kao Data Centres.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The ever-present Bank Street Group advised FiberLight, while TD Securities advised Morrison & Co.
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