Antin Infrastructure Partners to acquire FirstLight Fiber from Oak Hill Capital Partners21 February 2018
Antin Infrastructure Partners (“Antin”), a leading independent private equity firm focused on infrastructure investments, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire FirstLight Fiber (“FirstLight”) from private equity owner Oak Hill Capital Partners (“Oak Hill”, the “Sellers”). FirstLight is a major fiber-optic network provider operating in six northeastern U.S. states, namely New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, and Pennsylvania.
FirstLight originally started as an Albany, New York-focused fiber provider and expanded through the acquisitions of segTEL in New Hampshire and Maine; TelJet in Vermont; G4 Communications in New Hampshire; Oxford Networks in Maine and New Hampshire; Sovernet Communications in Vermont and New York; 186 Communications in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont; and Finger Lakes Technologies Group in New York and Pennsylvania. During Oak Hill’s investment period, FirstLight expanded its fiber route miles to over 14,000 miles and today operates a network with over 8,100 on-net locations and 42,000 near-net locations.
This transaction is Antin’s second in the fiber sub-sector and fourth overall in the wider telecom sector. Since 2015, Antin has owned Eurofiber, a provider of critical telecom infrastructure for the Dutch and Belgium economies. Antin will leverage this experience to support and further develop FirstLight’s footprint and services.
Kevin Genieser, Senior Partner at Antin leading this transaction commented: “As an experienced investor in the telecom sector and fiber networks in particular, we are delighted to be backing Kurt Van Wagenen and his talented team to continue the rapid growth of FirstLight. We are attracted by the company’s strong East Coast footprint and are convinced that the business has excellent prospects for the future, based on macro trends of growing data traffic and increasing data bandwidth needs.”
Kurt Van Wagenen, President and Chief Executive Officer of FirstLight added: “FirstLight has significantly expanded under Oak Hill’s ownership, with support from minority investors Novacap and Riverside Partners, with four acquisitions in the last two years. Now we are looking forward to partnering with Antin for the company’s next stage of growth.”
Scott Baker, Partner at Oak Hill and a member of the FirstLight Board of Directors said: “We are proud of the significant growth and strategic transformation accomplished during Oak Hill’s ownership of FirstLight. But more importantly, we are grateful for the strong partnership and outstanding performance of FirstLight’s talented management team and dedicated employees. We wish FirstLight and Antin continued success as the Company further expands its high-quality fiber network.”
The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2018, subject to standard regulatory approvals. The agreement has been approved by FirstLight’s Board of Directors and Antin’s Investment Committee.
Antin Infrastructure Partners was advised by UBS Investment Bank (exclusive financial advisor), Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Harris and Wiltshire & Grannis LLP (legal advisors).
FirstLight and the Sellers were advised on the transaction by the Bank Street Group and TD Securities. The Sellers received legal advice from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLC.
UBS Investment Bank, TD Securities and Jefferies Finance have underwritten and will arrange first and second lien financing in connection with the transaction.
About FirstLight Fiber FirstLight Fiber, headquartered in Albany, New York, provides fiber-optic data, Internet, data center, cloud and voice services to enterprise and carrier customers throughout the Northeast, connecting more than 8,100 locations in service with more than 42,000 locations serviceable by an over 14,000 route mile network. FirstLight offers a robust suite of advanced telecommunications products featuring a comprehensive portfolio of high bandwidth connectivity solutions including Ethernet, wavelength and dark fiber services as well as dedicated Internet access solutions, data center, cloud and voice services. FirstLight’s clientele includes national cellular providers and wireline carriers and many leading enterprises, spanning high tech manufacturing and research, hospitals and healthcare, banking and financial, secondary education, colleges and universities, and local and state governments. For more information, please visit www.firstlight.net
About Oak Hill Capital Partners Oak Hill is a private equity firm managing funds with more than $10 billion of initial capital commitments since inception from leading global endowments and foundations, public and corporate pension plans, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, financial institutions, consultants, and family offices. Over the past 30 years, the professionals at Oak Hill and its predecessors have invested in over 85 significant private equity transactions across broad segments of the U.S. and global economies. Oak Hill applies an industry-focused, theme-based approach to investing in the following sectors: Industrials; Consumer, Retail & Distribution; Media & Communications; and Services. Oak Hill works actively in partnership with management to implement strategic and operational initiatives to create franchise value. For more information, please visit www.oakhillcapital.com