DIF Capital Partners, through its DIF Core Infrastructure Fund II (DIF CIF II), today announced that it has agreed to acquire a stake in Joink, LLC and fund the company’s fiber optic network expansion with growth capital. Specifically, DIF Capital is investing alongside Joink’s existing investors, including Gilead Group, Hank Stephens, and Brian Wick, who will continue to remain shareholders.

Overall, Joink provides enterprise fiber, residential fiber, and fixed wireless services in rural markets of Western Indiana and Eastern Illinois.

Joink – DIF Capital Partners on Fiber Expansion

Joink was founded in January 2001 and is based in Terre Haute, Indiana. Initially, the company began as a wireless internet service provider (WISP), delivering internet service to residents and businesses in rural markets of Western Indiana and Eastern Illinois using fixed wireless technology.

Subsequently, in 2014, Joink began serving thousands of end users in West Central Indiana with fiber. Particularly, the company’s fiber serves both enterprises and consumers:

  • Enterprise Fiber: supplies education, healthcare, enterprise, and other telecommunications carriers
  • Consumer Fiber: fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) for residents of Western Indiana and Eastern Illinois

As of April 2020, Joink served nine rural and low-income counties in Western Indiana and Eastern Illinois, covering ~1.0k square miles. Through both its fixed wireless and fiber optic networks the company provided service to ~3.0k customers.

Joink Fixed Wireless and Fiber Coverage Map

Fixed Wireless

Historically, Joink has utilized unlicensed and lightly licensed spectrum to operate its fixed wireless network. Specifically, this spectrum includes frequencies in the ranges of:

  • Unlicensed: 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, 5.1 GHz to 5.8 GHz
  • Lightly Licensed: 3.65 GHz to 3.7 GHz

Presently, Joink operates 100+ fixed wireless transmit points (e.g., on tower infrastructure).

Fiber Infrastructure

Joink has deployed its main network ring through 540+ route miles of underground fiber in the five Indiana counties of Vigo, Vermillion, Parke, Clay, and Sullivan. Through this fiber network, the company offers service to enterprise, commercial, carrier, and residential customers.

Expansion

DIF Capital’s equity funding will allow Joink to accelerate the expansion of its fiber optic network to residential and enterprise customers. To this end, the company intends to further extend its fiber to single-family homes and multi-dwelling units.

Size Indicators

The latest reported financials of Joink show the company generated $7.8m+ of revenue annually and had 88 employees.

Management

Joink is led by its President and CEO, Josh Zuerner.

Transaction Advisors – DIF Capital (CIF), Joink

DIF Capital’s financial advisor was Agentis Capital. Additionally, Joink’s financial advisor was Cowen.

DIF Core Infrastructure Fund II (DIF CIF II) – Overview

DIF Capital Partners is an infrastructure fund with €9.0bn+ in assets under management (AUM). The firm’s fund, DIF Core Infrastructure Fund II (DIF CIF II), invests in small- and mid-sized infrastructure assets globally, targeting mid-term contracted cash flows with a modest risk profile.

DIF CIF II is a €1.0bn fund which invests in infrastructure, predominantly in the sub-sectors of digital, transportation, and energy. Through DIF CIF II and its predecessor, DIF CIF I, the firm has made investments in:

  • Valley Fiber: investing ~$260m USD ($328m Canadian dollars) in rural Manitoba, Canada, via its portfolio company Valley Fiber
  • Edsger: 49% equity stake overall in seven data centers located throughout the United States. Each facility offers ~5 megawatts to 15 megawatts of critical power capacity
  • ADTiM: 55% equity stake overall in two fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) concessions in the Ardèche and Drôme regions of South-East France

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