Lightower, Sidera to Merge in $2B Tie-Up

Consolidation in the competitive carrier space is continuing with the news that metro fiber provider Lightower Fiber Networks and high-bandwidth specialist Sidera Networks will be merging into one company in a transaction valued at more than $2 billion.

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.

The deal is led by Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based investment firm. Pamlico Capital, a Lightower investor, and ABRY Partners, a Sidera investor, will remain as investors in the new company. M/C Partners and Pamlico Capital acquired Lightower from National Grid plc in August 2007.

“Lightower and Sidera together will offer customers a 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.”

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.

Following the merger, the combined company will operate a 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 more than 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,” said 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 toour customers.”

“Berkshire is excited to be working with both Lightower and Sidera – two great companies and two great teams,” said 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.”

The merger of the two networks accelerates the strategies of both companies to expand the availability of fiber-based networking solutions for enterprise, carrier and government customers. The combined network will have a larger footprint but will also bolster the number of datacenters, financial exchanges and interconnection facilities that are served with fiber-based access.

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