iCON Infrastructure Partners, a London-headquartered middle-market infrastructure private equity firm, today announced that it has agreed to acquire a 57% stake in Dobson Fiber and will support the company’s $700m fiber network deployment plan across Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas. Specifically, the firm is investing out of its iCON Infrastructure Partners V fund, which has $1.9bn (€1.6bn) in capital commitments.

Presently, DLP, a family office for the Dobson family, holds a 77% ownership interest in Dobson Fiber, while the remaining 23% equity interest is held by Eight Bar, a special situations investment firm, via Eight Bar Financial Partners I. Additionally, upon completion of the transaction, the Dobson Family, including Everett Dobson and Stephen Dobson, will retain 20.2% and 15.4% ownership of Dobson Fiber, respectively.

Finally, the transaction is expected to close in Q3 2022.

Dobson Fiber – iCON Infrastructure Backs Fiber Deployments

Dobson Fiber has been providing telecommunications services in Oklahoma since 1936 (i.e., for over 85 years). Presently, the company owns and operates 4.9k+ fiber route miles through a regional network that spans Oklahoma and parts of Arkansas and Texas.

Dobson Fiber delivers connectivity services, including high-speed internet and VoIP telephone, to enterprises, small- and medium-sized businesses, and residential homes. Further, the company targets its local fiber-based internet services towards underserved communities.

Fiber Deployments

Dobson Fiber has already announced fiber deployments in:

  • Oklahoma: Atoka, Duncan, Enid, Lawton, Newalla, Panama, Shady Point, Waurika, and Weatherford
  • Arkansas: Booneville, Lavaca, and Ozark

With the backing of iCON Infrastructure, Dobson Fiber expects to reach more communities and accelerate the deployment of its fiber network across Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas – particularly in underserved markets.

Management

Dobson Fiber is led by Francisco Maella as CEO. Previously, Maella served as Chief Operating Officer of Texas-based Alpheus Communications, which was acquired by LOGIX Communications. Post-transaction, iCON Infrastructure will “continue to support Dobson Fiber’s management team”.

Transaction Advisors – iCON Infrastructure, Dobson Fiber

iCON Infrastructure’s financial advisor was TD Securities. Additionally, iCON Infrastructure’s legal advisor was Milbank.

Dobson Fiber’s financial advisor was Morgan Stanley. Additionally, Dobson Fiber’s legal advisor was Mayer Brown.

iCON Infrastructure – Overview

iCON Infrastructure is an infrastructure private equity firm with $5bn of assets under management (AUM). Specifically, the firm invests in infrastructure businesses across North America and Europe in the sectors of digital, water, transportation, healthcare, energy generation, distribution, and storage.

Fiber Investments

Beyond Dobson Fiber, iCON Infrastructure Partners has made investments in the following companies within the fiber sub-sector of digital infrastructure:

  • TruVista: acquired by iCON in October 2019. TruVista is a provider of broadband internet, video, and voice services to customers in South Carolina, United States
  • BornFiber: 85% stake acquired by iCON in January 2021. BornFiber is a fiber and fixed wireless network owner and operator based in Bornholm, Denmark
  • Strategic Fiber Networks: 98% stake acquired by iCON in October 2021. Strategic Fiber Networks is the holding company of three rural fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) providers in Germany, which pass 28.7k households and serve 16.0k customers primarily in the regions of Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony
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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