Lightower Case Study
M/C Partners created Lightower by co-sourcing, on a proprietary basis, metro fiber and wireless tower assets from National Grid, an international power company. Using Lightower’s concentration of unique fiber assets in the Northeastern United States, M/C saw an opportunity to use the Lightower platform to build a much larger fiber network services provider in the region. Through this initial transaction, Lightower was formed in 2007.
- In August 2007, M/C Partners co-led the acquisition of National Grid Wireless US from National Grid Plc for $290,000,000 cash to preempt a competitive auction process. National Grid Wireless US changed its name to Lightower. At the same time, GE Commercial Finance provided a $250,000,000 senior secured credit facility to Lightower.
- M/C and Pamlico reorganized the company into separate fiber and tower divisions and recruited a repeat M/C entrepreneur to run the fiber business
- In October 2008, SBA Communications Corporation (Nasdaq:SBAC) acquired Lightower Wireless LLC, the wireless infrastructure subsidiary of Light Tower LLC for $224 million.
- Since M/C and Pamlico’s initial acquisition of Lightower’s utility fiber assets in 2007, Lightower has acquired six additional fiber operators building the premier metro fiber company in the Northeast.
- As of December 2012, Lightower has achieved an annual EBITDA growth of 21% for last four years.
- M/C has been active in corporate development/acquisition efforts as well as capital-raising, including a February 2012 recapitalization through a $380 million credit facility..
- On December 27, 2012, Lightower entered into an agreement with Berkshire Partners to purchase the majority interests in the company including M/C’s entire equity stake. Lightower will simultaneously merge with Sidera Networks.
- The Lightower management team will lead the combined company.
M/C Partners Fiber Network Investment Strategy:
You can read more about Lightower and M/C’s other fiber optic investments in our fiber infrastructure case study.
On December 27, 2012, a consortium led by Berkshire Partners announced the acquisition of Lightower as part of a larger consolidation of the metro fiber assets. You can read more about the details of the transaction in the press release.