Private equity firm Berskhire Partners announced today that it plans to acquire controlling shares the two largest fiber network providers in the United States, with the ultimate aim of merging the two firms. Lightower Fiber Networks and Sidera Networks are in Berkshire's sights, and the holding company values the merger of the two infrastructure providers at more than $2 billion. The resulting entity would operate a fiber network stretching 20,000 miles and connecting 6,000 locations.According to The Wall Street Journal
, the merger would see Lightower emerge as the surviving brand, with the deal closing in the second quarter of next year. The merger would yield one of the largest providers of fiber infrastructure.
Lightower currently operates a 6,600-mile network of fiber cables connecting 3,500 buildings, with the majority of those located in the northeastern United States. Sidera, meanwhile, is an arm of RCN, a cable provider owned by Abry Partners.
The merger of the two firms would see Lightower Chief Executive Rob Shanahan running the resulting entity. Shanahan expects no antitrust issues to stem from the transaction. Investors in the two fiber providers would likely retain their stakes in the companies, though those shares would likely be reduced somewhat. In addition to Berkshire, Pamlico Capital and Abry Partners would retain a stake in the future Lightower.