Broadband Company NTI Connect Acquires Vertical Communications
Chicago-based broadband company NTI Connect has acquired Vertical Communications Inc. (Verticom) for an undisclosed amount.
Based in Dallas and operating throughout the South-Central United States, Verticom says it provides specialized in-house turnkey solutions to wireless, small cell, and fiber providers.
Founded in 2001, Verticom has 150 employees, according to the Dallas Business Journal. The firm is led by its founder, President, and CEO Jeff Lewis. Lewis commented on the deal:
“This is a great opportunity to enhance our people platform, elevate our strong brand and scale our technology to better serve our customers in support of NTI’s vision to be an industry-leading nationwide digital infrastructure services company.”
“We are excited for the next stage of VERTICOM’s evolution which will take us from a Regional superpower, to nationwide deployment teams and ultimately international operations through NTI’s European subsidiary.”
For its part, NTI was bought by private equity firm ORIX Capital Partners in November 2018. Its primary clients include Google, Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast. The addition of Verticom allows the company to scale its operations in a new area of the country with enhanced capabilities in the wireless and fiber segments, according to NTI’s CEO Jim Estes:
“VERTICOM’s current base of operations in Dallas, Houston, Oklahoma City and Little Rock have allowed it to support the recent technology sector growth in the South. In addition, the strength of their people and brand have allowed VERTICOM to execute direct contracts with many of the nation’s top public and private digital infrastructure companies.”
Fiber M&A Plays
Investment in fiber optic network companies has risen as experts point to a dearth of fiber infrastructure in the United States. According to a 2017 Deloitte report, the US needs to invest between $130 billion and $150 billion in the technology in the coming years if 5G networks are to grow.
Eager to potentially cash in on such growth, M&A activity has been consistent in the market. Recent deals include:
- May 2019: FirstLight — a fiber-optic, Internet, data center, cloud, and voice services provider — acquired Maine Fiber Company.
- May 2019: Fiber optic network owner Zayo Group Holdings was taken private through acquisition following pressure from activist investors.
- 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.