Goldman Sachs Asset Management, through its Infrastructure investing business, announced that is has agreed to acquire ImOn Communications, LLC, a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband provider in eastern Iowa. Specifically, Goldman Sachs is acquiring ImOn Communications through West Street Global Infrastructure Partners IV and Broad Street Principal Investments, while including co-investor Texas Permanent School Fund (PSF) as part of the deal. ImOn Communications’ selling shareholders include Jeffrey D. Benjamin (30.3% ownership), Gray Venture Partners / Stephen C. Gray (13.0% ownership), and other owners each, individually, holding less than 10% of the company, which together comprise the remaining 56.7% ownership.

As part of this transaction, Goldman Sachs will fund the expansion of ImOn Communications’ fiber network in eastern Iowa and surrounding markets, through new investments.

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

ImOn Communications – Goldman Sachs Funds Fiber

Founded in 2007, ImOn Communications is an Iowa-headquartered provider of fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) internet, video, and voice services to homes and businesses throughout eastern Iowa. Specifically, the company operates in Iowa’s cities of Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha, Mount Vernon, Marion, Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty, Dubuque, Cedar Falls, Waverly, Muscatine, and Indianola, amongst others.

Initially, a single-market cable provider, ImOn Communications began building its fiber-optic network in 2011. Presently, the company owns and operates a 2.0k+ route mile network that passes 60k+ households and businesses.

Expansion

Under Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s ownership, ImOn Communications will expand its serviceable footprint within existing and new markets.

As a reference point, during 2021, ImOn targeted a fiber build pacing of about 900 addresses per month, equivalent to 10.8k annually. Moreover, in 2022, the company set a goal to build-out fiber to 3.0k addresses per month or 36k on an annual basis.

Management

ImOn Communications is led by Patrice Carroll as Founder and CEO.

Debt Financing

TD Securities served as lead arranger for Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s debt financing of the ImOn Communications transaction.

Transaction Advisors – Goldman Sachs, ImOn Communications

Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s financial advisor was TD Securities. Additionally, Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s legal advisor was Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

ImOn Communications’ financial advisor was Bank Street Group. Additionally, ImOn Communications’ legal advisors were Shuttleworth & Ingersoll and Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

Goldman Sachs Asset Management – Overview

Goldman Sachs Asset Management invests in several alternative asset classes, including private equity, growth equity, private credit, real estate, and infrastructure. Since 2006, the Infrastructure business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management has invested ~$15bn in infrastructure assets. Specifically, the unit focuses on the infrastructure sectors of digital, energy transition, transportation & logistics, and essential services.

Digital Infrastructure

Within digital infrastructure, Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s investments include:

  • CityFibre: UK fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) overbuilder which targets passing 8 million UK homes by 2025
  • Global Compute: newly formed data center business which operates in Poland following its acquisition of Atman, which had three facilities and 41.5 megawatts of power capacity
  • Elea Digital: data center operator in Brazil which currently owns 6 data centers, comprising 10+ megawatts of power capacity across 190k sqft (17.6k sqm)

Previously, Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s Infrastructure investing business was also a shareholder in Vertical Bridge, the fourth largest independent tower company in the United States. Additionally, Goldman Sachs’ Special Situations Group (SSG) is an investor in IXcellerate, Russia’s third largest data center operator.

Jonathan Kim covers Fiber for Dgtl Infra, including Zayo Group, Cogent Communications (NASDAQ: CCOI), Uniti Group (NASDAQ: UNIT), Lumen Technologies (NYSE: LUMN), Frontier Communications (NASDAQ: FYBR), Consolidated Communications (NASDAQ: CNSL), and many more. Within Fiber, Jonathan focuses on the sub-sectors of wholesale / dark fiber, enterprise fiber, fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP), and subsea cables.

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