Case Study

Building the Northeast’s premier metro fiber network and broadband service provider

Since closing the initial investment, Lightower Fiber has emerged as a dominant fiber provider in the Northeast

Founded in 2003, Lightower Fiber Networks is a premier provider of custom, high-capacity fiber network services to enterprise, government, carrier, and data center customers.  The company delivers network services to over 7,500 service locations with more than 20,000 route miles that includes fiber assets in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Chicago metro area as well as critical landing stations and exchanges internationally.

The Pamlico team was originally introduced to Lightower through an internal sourcing relationship. In 2007, Pamlico and another private equity partner made a direct approach to National Grid and acquired their U.S.-based fiber and tower assets for $290 million in a proprietary transaction.

Following the close of the initial transaction, Lightower searched for a new CEO with fiber experience and hired Rob Shanahan to lead the company.  In 2008, Pamlico helped Lightower to source and execute two acquisitions, and also provided strategic guidance as the company sold its tower assets for $223 million.  Lightower subsequently acquired two highly strategic targets in both 2010 and 2011.  In total, the six acquisitions of contiguous metro fiber networks represented $345 million of aggregate transaction value and added more than 4,000 route miles to the company’s core infrastructure.

Lightower was sold in April 2013 for $1.4 billion to a group led by Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based investment firm.  As part of the transaction, which carried a total value of more than $2.0 billion, Berkshire acquired Sidera Networks, another Northeast fiber provider.  Pamlico rolled over a portion of its ownership into the combined platform and remains an active and enthusiastic investor in the company.