But it’s the opposite of the one that years ago I thought was most likely to happen with Level 3. That’s right, Colt is buying Lumen’s EMEA business. The two have entered into an agreement under which Lumen will divest the division for $1.8B.
Colt will be acquiring Lumen’s terrestrial and subsea networks, data centers, and network equipment across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Lumen will continue to target its multinational customer base via a strategic partnership with Colt. Most of Lumen’s EMEA headcount will be shifting over to Colt.
The asset fit has always been obvious. Colt also operates a continent-wide European longhaul and metro network footprint, with some of it originally in the same trenches as Level 3. Colt has always had a much more extensive enterprise business, with tens of thousands of on-net buildings across Europe. Level 3’s EMEA business was more of a wholesale business outside of the UK.
This deal follows Lumen’s recent decision to divest its Latin American business to Stonepeak. Taken together, Lumen has clearly chosen to focus its attention firmly upon its North American assets, which is where they have always had the greatest density.
For many years speculation was that Level 3 would buy Colt to fill out its European footprint. But after Level 3 and CenturyLink merged to become Lumen, Colt became the more internationally aggressive of the two, and will now be the one doing the consolidation it seems.
If all goes well, the transaction will close late next year.
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