Corporate partnerships and mergers

An investment consortium led by funds managed by H.R.L. Morrison & Company has signed an agreement to acquire FiberLight, a competitive fiber network operator that targets business and wholesale customers in 30 U.S. metropolitan areas. It’s the latest example of an investment company acquiring a fiber network operator, which we’ve been seeing a lot of lately.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

FiberLight has been around for more than 20 years and is currently owned by Thermo Companies. FiberLight has about 18,000 route miles of fiber, with a large presence in Texas and Northern Virginia.

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Morrison & Company is a global investment company whose assets include Vodafone NZ and various data center and tower companies. This is Morrison & Company’s third investment in North America. The global investment company opened a New York office last year.  

Morrison & Company plans to “accelerate FiberLight’s network expansion, positioning it to take advantage of the rapidly growing infrastructure market,” according to a press release about the company’s plan to acquire FiberLight.

The Broader Trend

Other investment firms that have made acquisitions involving U.S. network operators in recent years include Digital Colony Partners and the EQT Infrastructure Fund, who together acquired Zayo in 2020, and Macquarie Infrastructure Partners, which acquired Cincinnati Bell last year, as well as ATN International and Freedom 3 Capital who together purchased Alaska Communications last year. And those are just a few examples of a broader trend.

Investment firms’ interest in U.S. communications networks isn’t surprising, considering that the country is poised to make an unprecedented investment to bring last-mile broadband to unserved and underserved areas. Not only will the companies deploying those networks benefit, the initiative also will benefit companies like FiberLight that provide connectivity to internet points of presence.

Another trend benefiting a company like FiberLight is increasing reliance on the cloud on the part of business and government. And the U.S. is ahead of most of the world in deploying 5G, which will need substantial backhaul connectivity.

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