Vertical Bridge, the fourth largest owner of towers in the United States, today announced the completion of a merger with Eco-Site. Eco-Site is the ninth largest tower company in the United States, and together with Vertical Bridge, forms a company with over 20k owned towers. Furthermore, Vertical Bridge increases its portfolio to more than 290k sites located throughout the United States.
With the acquisition of Eco-Site, Vertical Bridge’s 20k owned and master-leased towers towers make it comparable to the three publicly-traded U.S. tower companies. Specifically, Vertical Bridge’s United States tower count of 20k, compares favorably to the current U.S. exposure of American Tower (40.6k towers), Crown Castle (40.1k towers) and SBA Communications (16.5k towers).
Beyond the existing towers of the combined companies, Vertical Bridge and Eco-Site have expertise in build-to-suit towers. Collectively, the two companies have constructed over 1.6k new towers in the last five years.
Management Team of Eco-Site
As part of the transaction, Eco-Site co-founders Dale Carey, Bob Glosson and Rich Stern are joining Vertical Bridge’s executive team. Carey will serve as Executive Vice President of Strategy and Convergence at Vertical Bridge. Additionally, Glosson becomes Senior Vice President of Real Estate Solutions. Finally, Stern will be Senior Vice President of Real Estate.
Investors of Eco-Site
Eco-Site was formed in 2012, by wireless industry executive Dale Carey and an initial investment of $80m. Eco-Site is backed by MSouth Equity Partners, which is an Atlanta-based private equity firm. MSouth focuses on lower-middle-market companies, typically valued between $25 to $125m.
M&A and Capital Raising of Vertical Bridge
Vertical Bridge’s deal for Eco-Site comes shortly after it also completed the acquisition of 250 towers from Cumulus Media for $213m, in October 2020. Upon closing of that transaction, Cumulus Media entered into a 10-year lease agreement for the continued use of the towers.
Additionally, in April 2019, Vertical Bridge received an investment from Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). Specifically, CDPQ acquired a 30% stake in the company. CDPQ’s investment allows Vertical Bridge to continue expanding its portfolio of towers, ahead of 5G deployments by wireless carriers. Indeed, the Eco-Site transaction exemplifies a specific use of the proceeds from CDPQ’s investment.