Colt and Lumen have completed their previously announced deal. For the price of $1.8B, Lumen’s business in Europe, Middle East, and Africa is now officially part of Colt.
Lumen’s EMEA business was always focused on the wholesale and enterprise space, with it’s core built around the western European fiber rings and metro depth built back in the bubble by Level 3 — in some cases in the same trenches as Colt itself. Lumen later added to that footprint inorganically, with the biggest chunk coming from Level 3’s purchase of Global Crossing. Today that means 2,700 new customers, an expanded pan-European and transatlantic fiber footprint, and 11,000km of additional metro depth spanning 125 cities and 34 countries for Colt.
Some 1,300 employees will make the shift, adding to Colt’s pool of resources. Colt’s footprint gets some more reach as well, adding PoPs in Dubai, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Kenya, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa and Turkey. That puts Colt in some new places in the world, beyond their usual dual haunts in Europe and APAC.
As longtime readers know, this result is the opposite of what I once thought was inevitable. A decade ago, it seemed inevitable that Colt’s backers would sell out to Level 3, giving Level 3 the metro depth they were missing in Europe. But time moves on, and in 2023 the deal enables Lumen to focus more closely upon its infrastructure in North America. Lumen’s global presence remains very robust above the fiber infrastructure level of the network.
Colt now has some significant integration work to do, and the separation of the EMEA business from Lumen will probably be complex on both sides. But when complete, Colt may be in a position for additional expansion possibilities, perhaps in the MEA part of EMEA where they have gained some new footholds.
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