FiberLight, an enterprise and dark fiber provider, has agreed to be acquired by an investor group led by HRL Morrison & Co, a New Zealand-headquartered infrastructure and private equity investment firm. The Morrison & Co-led consortium acquiring FiberLight, includes superannuation fund Australian Retirement Trust (ART) and CalSTRS (California State Teachers’ Retirement System), which is a managed client of UBS Asset Management. These investors are purchasing FiberLight from Thermo Companies, a long-term investor and operator controlled by Jay Monroe.
Additionally, according to press reports from Bloomberg, the transaction values FiberLight at about $1 billion including debt.
FiberLight – Overview
FiberLight is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and is a facilities-based provider of metropolitan fiber-optic network infrastructure and high-bandwidth connectivity solutions. The company builds, owns, and operates enterprise and dark fiber networks which currently comprise ~18,000 route miles of fiber infrastructure.
Key metrics of FiberLight’s network include connectivity for more than 78,000 pre-qualified near-net buildings, 1,650+ towers, 130+ on-net data centers, and 19,000 backbone access points.
Geographically, the company’s network serves customers in over 30 metropolitan areas in the United States. Particularly, this network spans major markets of Texas and Northern Virginia, which is home to the largest concentration of data centers in the world.
FiberLight’s network offers services such as ethernet, wavelength transport, cloud connect, dedicated internet access, dark fiber, and backhaul.
FiberLight’s customers include domestic & international telecommunications carriers, wireless carriers, wireline companies, cable companies / multiple-system operators (MSOs), cloud service providers, enterprises, government agencies, and educational institutions.
Under HRL Morrison & Co, ART, and CalSTRS’ ownership, FiberLight will invest to expand its fiber network infrastructure in large U.S. markets.
FiberLight is led by Christopher Rabii as Chief Executive Officer. Post-transaction, Rabii will continue to lead the business.
Transaction Advisors – FiberLight and Morrison & Co
FiberLight’s financial advisor was Bank Street. Additionally, the company’s legal advisor was Taft.
Morrison & Co’s financial advisor was TD Securities. Additionally, Morrison & Co’s legal advisor was Torys.
Morrison & Co – Digital Infrastructure
Morrison & Co manages multiple client mandates, with a total of over $17 billion of assets under management (AUM). Within digital infrastructure, Morrison & Co has significant investment and operating experience. Specifically, the firm manages investments in Kao Data, Vodafone New Zealand, Fore Freedom, and CDC Data Centres.
Most recently, in 2021, Morrison & Co, alongside the Future Fund, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC), and Sunsuper, acquired a 49% interest in Telstra’s towers business, which is now called Amplitel Towers, at a valuation of A$5.9bn.
Finally, Morrison & Co’s purchase of FiberLight marks its first investment in North America, within the digital infrastructure sector.