Liberty Global Ventures, the investment fund of Liberty Global, and InfraVia Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Paris, through its vehicle InfraVia European Fund V, today announced the formation of a new 50%/50% joint venture, known as Liberty Networks Germany, to build fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in Germany.
Liberty Networks Germany – Liberty Global, InfraVia
The Liberty Networks Germany joint venture will pursue greenfield fiber network deployment in Germany, a country where “millions of homes” do not have access to fast and reliable broadband.
Initially, the Liberty Global and InfraVia joint venture, in its first phase, will take a “controlled approach”, targeting a small number of underserved municipalities in Germany. Subsequently, if certain success criteria are met during the first phase, further investment opportunities will result for the joint venture.
Liberty Global – Experience in Germany and Digital Infrastructure
Historically, Liberty Global provided residential and business-to-business (B2B) communication services in Germany through Unitymedia GmbH. However, Liberty Global sold its Unitymedia operations to Vodafone in July 2019, as part of a larger €19.0bn transaction.
Liberty Global brings its experience from Unitymedia, working with municipalities and regional authorities in Germany, to the Liberty Networks Germany joint venture with InfraVia. Under Liberty Global’s ownership, Unitymedia’s network in Germany reached 13 million homes passed and 7.2 million customers.
Liberty Global’s current digital infrastructure investments include companies in the sub-sectors of fiber and data centers. Notably, Virgin Media O2 is a similar-style 50%/50% joint venture, whereby Liberty Global is deploying fiber in the UK. Below are existing digital infrastructure investments by Liberty Global:
- Virgin Media O2: a 50%/50% joint venture between Liberty Global and Telefónica. Specifically, the company intends to upgrade its total of 15.5 million network passings to fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) by year-end 2028
- AtlasEdge Data Centres: in May 2021, Liberty Global and Digital Colony Partners II, the private equity fund of DigitalBridge, formed this joint venture. Particularly, AtlasEdge Data Centres is an edge data center operator targeting deployments of 100 edge facilities across Europe
- EdgeConneX: as of Q2 2021, Liberty Global owns a 5.2% equity interest in EdgeConneX. Specifically, the company is a global data center operator with a dual focus on both edge and hyperscale facilities
InfraVia Capital Partners – Overview
InfraVia Capital Partners is a private equity firm which focuses on infrastructure and technology investments. Since 2008, InfraVia has raised €7bn+ of capital and invested in 40+ companies across 13 European countries.
InfraVia Capital Partners has invested across all of the major sub-sectors of digital infrastructure, including towers, data centers, and fiber. Specifically, InfraVia’s current digital infrastructure investments include:
- IFT (Investissement dans la Fibre des Territoires): fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) joint venture in France between InfraVia and Iliad. To-date, IFT has invested €760m+ and reached ~70% coverage of the territory
- Celeste: owns and operates the third largest national network in France, providing services to enterprises and the public sector. Specifically, Celeste’s wholesale fiber network spans 5.3k route miles (8.5k route kilometers), with 234 points-of-presence (POPs), in 2.65k municipalities
- green.ch (Green Data Centre): acquired Altice’s telecommunications solutions business and data center operations in Switzerland for €184m (CHF 214m). Presently, Green operates ~25 megawatts of power capacity and has secured land to develop 80 megawatts of additional capacity
Additionally, prior digital infrastructure investments by InfraVia Capital Partners include ADTiM, Cignal Infrastructure, Etix Everywhere, and NGD (Next Generation Data).
Germany – Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH)
Beyond Liberty Global and InfraVia, Germany’s fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) market has been gaining increased investor focus, particularly for deployments in underserved markets. Below are recent examples of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) initiatives in Germany.
Basalt Infrastructure Partners, goetel
In September 2021, Basalt Infrastructure Partners agreed to acquire goetel Group, a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) provider in rural Germany. Overall, goetel Group serves the rural areas of the German regions of Hesse, Lower Saxony, and North Rhine-Westphalia.
UBS Asset Management REPM, Lünecom
In August 2021, UBS Asset Management Real Estate & Private Markets acquired Lünecom, a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) provider in rural Northern Germany. Initially, UBS will invest €160m in order to supply 100k+ households with fiber broadband services in rural Germany.
Intermediate Capital Group (ICG), TNG Stadtnetz
Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) owns TNG Stadtnetz, a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) provider in rural, semi-rural, and urban areas of Germany. Particularly, the company is utilizing Deutsche Bahn’s dark fiber network as part of its roll-out of high-speed internet services in Germany’s state of Schleswig-Holstein.