BOXBOROUGH, MA and ROCHESTER, NY – April 27, 2015 – Lightower Fiber Networks, a leading provider of custom, high-capacity network services that ensure optimal application and business performance, and Fibertech Networks,a leading provider of fiber-optic based network services throughout mid-size cities in the Eastern and Central regions of the United States, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement to merge. The agreement is an all-cash transaction valued at $1.9 billion, which will be funded through a combination of equity and debt. Lightower’s existing financial backers, Berkshire Partners, Pamlico Capital and ABRY Partners, will each provide additional equity to support the transaction. The combined company will be led by current Lightower CEO, Rob Shanahan. The merger is pending regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2015.
“The combination of Lightower and Fibertech is a win for customers by enabling us to serve more locations, across a wider area, and with more service options – all with the same superior level of reliability and customer support,” stated Rob Shanahan, CEO of Lightower. “Lightower and Fibertech have built distinct networks in their respective regions that will be very complementary when merged. In addition, we plan to continue to invest capital in these regions for additional network expansion.”
The combined company will own and operate a high-performance, fiber-based network throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. The company will offer customers over 30,000 route miles of fiber network providing access to nearly 5,000 wireless towers and almost 13,000 on-net service locations, including commercial buildings, data centers, financial exchanges, content hubs and other critical communications facilities.
“This merger between our two high growth companies is a very positive development for both organizations, both customer bases and both sets of employees,” said John Purcell, CEO of Fibertech. “Bringing together these two talented teams under an integrated leadership group will be a great cultural fit, while also broadening opportunities and career growth for employees.”
“We are excited about Lightower and Fibertech coming together. Both companies operate outstanding networks with distinct and complementary footprints, making this a natural fit,” explained Randy Peeler, Managing Director of Berkshire. “We have invested in the telecommunications infrastructure space for nearly 20 years and believe that the combined company, with its incredibly robust network, is well positioned for continued growth serving customers with an ever-increasing need for high-performance bandwidth.”
More Areas Served, More Locations, More Routes, More Services, More Customer Options
Lightower and Fibertech have very complementary networks and geographic footprints. The combination of the two accelerates the growth strategies employed by both companies to provide best-in-class, fiber-based networking solutions to enterprise, carrier and government customers. The combined company will provide customers with access to more services in more locations across a broader geographic area while also offering additional and diverse routes between locations. The combined network will also dramatically increase the number of data centers, financial exchanges, interconnection facilities, and wireless towers that are served with fiber-based access.
Lightower and Fibertech both currently offer fiber-based service portfolios comprised of Ethernet, dark fiber, wavelengths, Internet access, private networks and colocation services. Both companies also offer industry-specific solutions for financial services, health care, government, education, media, content providers, wireless and wireline carriers, and also cloud and data center connectivity.
Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Current Lightower Fiber Networks investors include Berkshire Partners, Pamlico Capital, and ABRY Partners. Current Fibertech Networks investors include Court Square Capital Partners.
Financing commitments in support of the transaction have been provided by J.P. Morgan and Highbridge Principal Strategies, LLC. Ropes & Gray, LLP is providing legal counsel to Berkshire Partners and Lightower.
Court Square is being advised by Evercore Partners, Inc. and TD Securities in the transaction, with Dechert LLP providing legal counsel.
In March 2015, Lightower also announced its acquisition of ColocationZone – an enterprise-class data center provider in Chicago.