Ardian, a French private equity firm, through its €7.5bn Ardian Buyout Fund VII, announced that it has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Aire Networks, a wholesale fiber provider in Spain, from Magnum Industrial Partners (formerly Magnum Capital Partners) for more than €600m ($630m USD), according to press reports from elEconomista. In terms of financing the transaction, Ardian’s initial equity commitment is reportedly around €350m ($368m USD).
In 2021, Aire Networks reported revenue of over €110m and EBITDA of €34m, implying an EBITDA margin of 31%. Therefore, based on the €600m enterprise value ascribed to Aire Networks, Ardian is valuing the business at a ~17.6x EV/EBITDA multiple.
Presently, Ardian, through Ardian Infrastructure, is also the owner of Adamo Telecom Iberia, a rural fiber broadband provider in Spain, which it recently acquired from EQT for €1bn+.
Aire Networks – Ardian Doubles Down on Fiber in Spain
Aire Networks was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Elche (Alicante), Spain. In July 2018, Magnum Industrial Partners first invested in Aire Networks, acquiring a 60% ownership stake.
Aire Networks covers 90% of Spain’s national territory, with a network that spans over 19.9k miles (32.0k kilometers) through fiber-optics and radio links.
Of this total, the company operates a fiber network traversing 16.8k miles (27.0k kilometers), with 55 points-of-presence (PoPs).
Aire’s network is connected to peering points in Spain, including in Alicante, Barcelona, Cádiz, Madrid, Málaga, Murcia, Seville, Valencia, and Zaragoza. Additionally, the company offers four peering points internationally, in the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
More specifically, Aire Networks connects to major internet exchange points (IXPs) from AMS-IX, London Internet Exchange (LINX), DE-CIX, Equinix, and ESpanix.
Aire Networks provides wholesale services to local & regional network operators and enterprises, including:
- Connectivity: IP transit, on-net, transit backup, point-to-point, dedicated internet access (DIA), virtual private LAN, business fiber
- Voice: SIP trunking, mobile telephony, virtual PBX, fax to mail, mass SMS sending
- Audiovisual: platform TV OTT/IPTV/hybrid, transport of audiovisual content
- Cloud and Data Center: colocation, XaaS (anything-as-a-service)
Aire Networks is led by Raúl Aledo as Chief Executive Officer, Miguel Tecles as Chief Technology Officer, and Emilio Gras as Chief Information Officer of the company. Importantly, each of these executives are also re-investing in Aire Networks, gaining a meaningful stake in the company, alongside Ardian.
Magnum Industrial Partners and Aire Networks’ financial advisors were Arma Partners and Evercore.
Spain Fiber Investments
Beyond Ardian’s investments in Aire Networks and Adamo Telecom Iberia, Spain’s fiber sector has recently attracted a number of institutional investors, which have made investments in the following companies:
- lyntia Networks: dark and enterprise fiber provider in Spain which AXA IM Alts and Swiss Life are acquiring for more than €2.0bn
- Red Eléctrica’s Reintel: dark fiber operator in Spain, which KKR acquired a 49% stake of, at a €2.3bn overall valuation
- Onivia: wholesale fiber network operator backed by Macquarie Capital, abrdn (Aberdeen Standard Investments), Daiwa Energy & Infrastructure, and, most recently, Arjun Infrastructure Partners. Separately, Macquarie also acquired a portion of Telefónica’s copper network in Spain for around €200m
- ASTEO: wholesale fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) operator deploying new fiber networks in rural areas of Spain, which has the backing of Cube Infrastructure Managers (Cube IM)