The undisclosed amount will be added to the existing investment from the company’s long-time private equity partner Oak Hill Capital. As part of the transaction, Oak Hill and KKR will each make new investments to help accelerate MetroNet's growth in building and connecting fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) data, television and telephone services to homes and businesses, the company said.
MetroNet launched in 2005 with a fiber optic network in Greencastle, Indiana. The company now serves nearly 100 communities in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio, according to its website.
This year, MetroNet launched services in its ninth state as it continues to expand its fiber footprint to local communities across the country. In March 2020, the company acquired Evansville, Indiana-based fiber-optic communication provider Jaguar Communications.
MetroNet’s New Investment: Driving Growth
John Cinelli, MetroNet CEO, commented on the deal:
"We value our long-standing partnership with Oak Hill and are proud to welcome our new investors at KKR. The additional investments from Oak Hill and KKR will drive growth that further bridges the digital divide by providing hundreds of thousands of additional households access to world class and future proof 100% fiber optic services for living, learning, and connecting to each other. We look forward to maintaining our commitment to excellence in serving our customers and communities."
Benjamin Diesbach and Scott Baker, partners at Oak Hill, added:
"We believe that reliable, high-speed access to the Internet represents a fundamental underpinning of economic growth and equal opportunity for all Americans, from small towns to big cities. We are excited to build upon our seven year partnership with MetroNet's outstanding management team, led by John Cinelli, as the company expands its fiber network to many more underserved American communities."
Waldemar Szlezak, a senior leader on KKR's infrastructure investment team, said:
"MetroNet has set itself apart as the leading independent FTTP provider in the U.S., well-known for its high quality technology, exceptional customer service and local operations. We are thrilled to be supporting MetroNet, alongside Oak Hill, on its mission to deliver much-needed broadband access across the U.S., a market that is well behind its peers in FTTP connectivity."
Oak Hill And KKR’s Fiber Investment History
Oak Hill is an experienced investor in the FTTP space and has been a partner with the MetroNet team since 2014. In July 2020, the firm acquired telecommunication and fiber optic network services provider Otelco.
In 2011, the private equity firm acquired Intermedia, transforming that business from an email and web hosting company into a cloud services provider. When Oak Hill sold Intermedia to Madison Dearborn Partners in 2016, the CSP’s annual revenue was $200 million.
Oak Hill has operated for 34 years and manages funds worth around $15 billion. The firm has invested in more than 90 private equity transactions across a range of market segments, both within the U.S. and globally. Key investment arenas include media and communications; services; industrials; and consumer, retail and distribution.
KKR, meanwhile, will make its investment in MetroNet through its global infrastructure strategy. The firm first established its global infrastructure strategy in 2008 and has become an active infrastructure investor, currently managing over $27 billion in infrastructure assets.
Bank Street Group LLC and Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC served as co-lead financial advisors to MetroNet in connection with this transaction.