Antin Infrastructure Partners, an infrastructure private equity firm, today announced that it has agreed to invest in Empire Access and North Penn Telephone (collectively, Empire Access), which are regional fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband providers in Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania.

Post-transaction, the Wagner family, which purchased Empire in 1946 and North Penn in 1952, will retain an ownership stake in the company. Additionally, Brian Wagner, Empire Access’ outgoing CEO, will remain on the company’s board of directors.

Finally, the transaction is expected to close in the second-half of 2022.

Empire Access – Overview

Empire Access was founded in 1896 in Prattsburgh, New York. The company offers high-speed fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) internet, voice, and digital TV services in Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania.

Fiber Network – Available and Future Expansion
Empire Access Fiber Network Map New York Pennsylvania

As shown in red, in the map above, Empire Access’ fiber-optic services are available in the following markets:

  • New York: Arkport, Batavia, Bath, Big Flats, Binghamton, Burdett, Canandaigua, Canisteo, Corning, Dansville, Elmira, Elmira Heights, Endicott, Endwell, Geneseo, Geneva, Hammondsport, Hornell, Johnson City, LeRoy, Montour Falls, Mount Morris, Naples, North Hornell, Odessa, Owego, Prattsburgh, Penn Yan, Victor, Warsaw, Watkins Glen, and Waverly
  • Pennsylvania: Athens, Sayre, South Waverly, and Troy

Fiber Network

Empire Access’ network infrastructure spans 1,280 fiber route miles. Through this network, the company passes over 92k addresses and serves 24k customers, implying a 26% penetration rate. Of Empire Access’ 92k passings, 95%, equivalent to 87.4k, are served by fiber infrastructure.

With Antin Infrastructure’s financial backing, Empire Access plans to rapidly expand its high-speed fiber broadband footprint across the New York and Pennsylvania region. As part of this expansion, the company intends to provide broadband services to underserved areas of New York and Pennsylvania.

Management

Upon completion of Antin Infrastructure’s investment, Empire Access’ Chief Operating Officer, Jim Baase, will become Chief Executive Officer of the company.

Debt Financing

Antin Infrastructure’s debt financing for the Empire Access transaction was provided by lead arrangers Citizens Financial Group, CIT (part of First Citizens Bank), and Webster Bank.

Transaction Advisors

Antin Infrastructure’s financial advisor was Citizens Financial Group. Additionally, Antin Infrastructure’s legal advisors were Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

Empire Access’ legal advisor was Harter Secrest & Emery.

Antin Infrastructure Partners – Overview

Antin Infrastructure Partners has over €22.7bn in assets under management (AUM) across its Flagship, Mid Cap, and NextGen investment strategies. Specifically, the firm invests in the infrastructure sectors of energy & environment, digital, transport, and social.

Within digital infrastructure, Antin Infrastructure’s portfolio companies – both past and present – include Axión, FPS Towers, Eurofiber, CityFibre, FirstLight Fiber, Lyntia, and Pulsant. For additional details on Antin Infrastructure’s digital portfolio companies, check-out our detailed review here.

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