Lightower, Sidera to Merge in $2 Billion Fiber Deal

Lightower Fiber Networks and Sidera Networks will merge as part of a $2 billion transaction in which both companies will be acquired by private equity firm Berkshire Partners, the companies said today. The deal will bring together two leading fiber providers serving the Northeast, create a combined network with over 20,000 route miles and access to more than 6,000 on-net locations between Massachusetts and Virginia, including data centers, financial exchanges, content hubs, commercial buildings and other critical interconnection facilities.

Pamlico Capital and ABRY Partners, who are significant investors in Lightower and Sider, respectively, will remain as investors in the new company. Berkshire and ABRY are already joint owners of colocation and interconnection specialist Telx.

The combined company will be led by current Lightower CEO, Rob Shanahan, who hs led the company through acquisitions of Lexent Metro and Veroxity, among others. 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,” said Shanahan. “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.”

Companies Offer Similar Solutions

The combined network will have both a larger footprint and greater density in its core markets in the Northeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Both Lightower and Sidera currently offer fiber-based networking solutions comprised of Ethernet, dark fiber, wavelengths, Internet access, private networks and colocation services, as well as specialized services for ultra-low latency connections for financial services firms, video transport for media companies, and wireless backhaul for wireless operators.

“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,” said Randy Peeler, Managing Director of Berkshire.

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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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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