Lightower Fiber Networks, the premier metro fiber and bandwidth provider in the Northeast, and Sidera Networks, the leading provider of tailored, high-capacity communications services to large enterprise, carrier and data center customers, announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for a transaction valued at over $2 billion led by Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based investment firm, and management, to acquire and merge both companies. M/C Partners and Pamlico Capital acquired Lightower from National Grid plc in August 2007. Pamlico Capital, a significant Lightower investor, and ABRY Partners, a significant Sidera investor, will remain as investors in the new company. The combined company will be led by current Lightower CEO, Rob Shanahan. The merger is pending regulatory approval and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.
“Lightower and Sidera together will offer customers an industry-leading, fiber-based network with a deeply experienced team supporting it,” stated Rob Shanahan, CEO of Lightower. “Both companies have a shared vision of network excellence, customized solutions and superior customer support. Once merged, we will offer customers more services, more routes and more access options with the same high levels of performance, diversity, reliability and support that our customers have come to expect from us.”
Following the merger, the combined company will operate a high-performance, fiber-based network throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, with connections to critical landing sites and exchanges internationally. The combined network will offer customers over 20,000 route miles and provide access to more than 6,000 on-net locations, including commercial buildings, data centers, financial exchanges, content hubs and other critical interconnection facilities.
“This combination is highly complementary,” commented Mike Sicoli, CEO of Sidera. “The broad reach and scale of our combined network, the cumulative expertise of our dedicated employees and our shared passion for customer service and satisfaction will set the new company apart and deliver tangible benefits to our customers.”
“Berkshire is excited to be working with both Lightower and Sidera – two great companies and two great teams,” 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 Customer Options with More Routes and More Access
The merger of the two networks accelerates the strategies of both companies to provide best-in-class, fiber-based networking solutions to enterprise, carrier and government customers. The combined company will provide customers with enhanced access to a unique, diverse and dense high-performance network that can serve the most demanding application requirements. The combined network will have both a larger footprint and greater density throughout the Northeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, while dramatically increasing the number of data centers, financial exchanges and interconnection facilities that are served with fiber-based access.
Lightower and Sidera both currently offer fiber-based networking solutions comprised of Ethernet, dark fiber, wavelengths, Internet access, private networks and colocation services. Both companies also offer industry-specific solutions such as ultra-low latency connections for financial services firms, video transport for media companies, wireless backhaul for wireless operators, as well as diverse cloud, content and data center connectivity.
Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Current Lightower Fiber Networks investors include M/C Partners, Pamlico Capital and Ridgemont Equity Partners. Current Sidera Networks investors include ABRY Partners and Spectrum Equity Investors.
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Berkshire Partners LLC
Lightower Fiber Networks is the premier provider of custom, high-capacity network services that ensure optimal application and business performance. Serving enterprise, government, carrier and data center customers, our comprehensive suite of fiber-based solutions is delivered across a robust, dense and highly-reliable network. The company offers over 20,000 route miles of network providing access to over 7,500 service locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Chicago Metro with connectivity to critical international landing sites. Lightower Fiber Networks is headquartered in Boxborough, MA. For more information, visit www.lightower.com or call 1.888.LT.FIBER.
Sidera Networks, LLC, www.sidera.net, is the premier provider of tailored, high-capacity communications services to large enterprise, carrier and data center customers with a focus on how customers connect to cloud services and access or distribute content. Sidera Networks offers a comprehensive suite of facilities-based services including: Ethernet, SONET, Wavelength, Dark Fiber, Internet Access, Colocation and more. With a fiber-optic network leveraging unique rights-of-way that delivers connectivity to the major metropolitan areas from Maine to Virginia and out to Chicago, as well as access to Toronto and London, Sidera is committed to delivering cost-effective, custom solutions coupled with superior industry expertise, service and support. Learn more about Sidera at www.sidera.net or call 877-669-6366.
Berkshire Partners LLC, the Boston-based investment firm, has invested in over 100 middle market companies since 1986 through eight investment funds with aggregate capital commitments of over $11 billion. Berkshire has developed specific industry experience in several areas, including communications, consumer products and retail, business services, industrial manufacturing and transportation. Within communications, the firm has particular expertise in infrastructure investments including Crown Castle International (NYSE:CCI) and The Telx Group. Berkshire has a strong history of partnering with management teams to grow the companies in which it invests, with the goal of consistently achieving superior investment returns. The firm seeks to invest $50 million to $500 million of equity capital in each portfolio company. For additional information, visit www.berkshirepartners.com or call 617-227-0050.