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MIP Acquires Cincinnati Bell Telco and MSP Assets for $2.9B

Macquarie Infrastructure Partners (MIP) is acquiring Cincinnati Bell — a telco service provider with MSP assets — for $2.9 billion, the companies confirmed. The private equity arm of Ares Management will help to finance the deal.

This M&A deal 153 that ChannelE2E has covered so far in 2020. See the complete M&A deal list here.

A bidding war between MIRA and Brookfield for Cincinnati Bell had gone back-and-forth since around December 2019, with multiple bids at increasingly higher valuations surfacing since that time. MIP won the financial showdown when Brookfield declined to counter MIP’s latest offer in recent days.

Cincinnati Bell’s MSP Assets

Cincinnati Bell owns CBTS and OnX — two MSP (managed IT services provider) subsidiaries that offer end-to-end IT solutions for U.S. and Canadian enterprise customers.

Also, Cincinnati Bell in mid-2018 acquired Hawaiian Telcom to gain scale and fiber network infrastructure. That deal included direct access to the historic SEA-US Trans-Pacific fiber cable linking Asia to the United States.

MIRA is an alternative asset manager, specializing in infrastructure, real estate and agriculture. The company manages investments in 155 portfolio businesses, approximately 600 properties and 4.7 million hectares of farmland across 33 countries.

MIRA Acquires Cincinnati Bell: Executive Perspectives

In a prepared statement about the deal, Cincinnati Bell CEO Leigh Fox said:

“This transaction with MIP represents an exciting opportunity to enhance our financial position and expand our resources to better serve our customers. MIP exhibits deep telecommunications expertise and a strong track record of investing in capital intensive businesses, which will be critical as we deliver on our strategy to drive next generation, integrated communications through an expanded fiber network as well as our IT services platform. We firmly believe this transaction will allow us to enhance our services and drive long-term value for our customers in HawaiiOhioKentucky, and Indiana, and across North America.”

Added MIP CEO Karl Kuchel:

“Given the significant investment that the Company has made into its fiber network, Cincinnati Bell represents a truly differentiated platform compared to other network providers. We are pleased to partner with the experienced management team to continue to expand the fiber footprint and bring high bandwidth connectivity to homes and businesses in the Company’s service territories. The investment in Cincinnati Bell represents an exciting addition to our portfolio of fiber and communications infrastructure assets, both in the United States and globally.”

The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2021.

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