FirstLight Acquires Maine Fiber Company, Targets Canada
The deal extends FirstLight’s fiber network throughout Maine, but also provides a unique route for the company into Canada, FirstLight asserts. MFC’s infrastructure includes a cable landing as well as the Maritime Express Route from Nova Scotia to Boston.
Kurt Van Wagenen, president and CEO of FirstLight Fiber, commented on the deal:
“Acquiring MFC is very exciting for FirstLight. We have a long-standing, positive working relationship with this organization and are impressed with what they have been able to accomplish since the company’s inception in 2009. The companies have leveraged their strong ties over the years to expand broadband access to customers in Maine and beyond. We expect the integration process will be swift and seamless to our customers and stakeholders.”
Dwight Allison III, CEO of MFC, added:
“We are excited about the possibilities this transaction creates for our customers, employees and key stakeholders. Over the past 10 years, we have built a 1,300-route mile, middle mile dark fiber network in areas throughout the State of Maine that were historically underserved. Now as part of FirstLight, a larger network of dark fiber is available to help us realize our mission of providing our customers access to a quality broadband network.”
FirstLight has been expanding its fiber optic network since the company’s launch in 1999. The firm acquired Finger Lakes Technologies Group Inc. in March 2017. The company works with national telecom providers, CLECs, and leading enterprises including healthcare organizations, high tech manufacturing and research facilities, financial institutions, educational institutes, public safety agencies, as well as local and state governments.
The Optics of Fiber Optics
Investors have carefully considered fiber optic network investments and valuations in recent months. Earlier in May, fiber optic network owner Zayo Group Holdings was taken private through acquisition following pressure from activist investors.
Still, there could be opportunity ahead if a 2017 report from Deloitte is to be believed. Indeed, the United States will need to invest between $130 billion and $150 billion in fiber infrastructure over the next five to seven years if 5G networks are to grow, the research says.
Eager to potentially cash in on such growth, M&A activity has been consistent in the market. Recent deals include:
- Apr 2018: ZenFi Networks and Cross River Fiber merged to create a “leading communications infrastructure provider” that offers fiber and colocation services in the New York and New Jersey metro areas.
- May 2018: ExteNet Systems acquired Hudson Fiber Network (HFN), gaining a fiber optic infrastructure footprint across the New York and New Jersey region.
- Jul 2017: EQT bought Lumos Networks for approximately $950 million.
- Dec 2016: Consolidated Communications acquired FairPoint Communications, a broadband fiber and managed services provider for $1.5 billion in stock.