Daily News: January 2, 2013

Berkshire Partners Leads Financing for Lightower Merger


Lightower Fiber Networks, a metro fiber and bandwidth provider in the Northeast, and Sidera Networks, a 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.

“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.”

Current Lightower Fiber Networks investors include M/CPartners, Pamlico Capital and Ridgemont Equity Partners. Current Sidera Networks investors include ABRY Partners and Spectrum Equity Investors.