Cox buys into Unite Private Networks

Cox Communications has agreed to make a strategic investment in fiber-optic network services provider Unite Private Networks (UPN). Existing investor Ridgemont Equity Partners and the company's management team also will kick in some funds. UPN will operate as a stand-alone business within the Cox group of companies as a result under its current management team.

Cox Communications has agreed to make a strategic investment in fiber-optic network services provider Unite Private Networks (UPN). Existing investor Ridgemont Equity Partners and the company's management team also will kick in some funds. UPN will operate as a stand-alone business within the Cox group of companies as a result under its current management team.

The amount of funding in the round was not disclosed.

UPN operates a 6,200 route-mile fiber-optic network across 20 states, primarily in the central part of the United States. The network connects to 3,750 buildings, to which UPN markets dark fiber, Ethernet internet access, and related services (see, for example, "Unite Private Networks expands Dallas fiber-optic network footprint"). The company's primary customer base includes schools, government, carriers, data centers, hospitals, and enterprises (see, for example, "ICS taps Unite Private Networks for dark fiber, Ethernet internet in Iowa").

Cox was among the first U.S. cable MSOs to develop a business services operation, Cox Business. The company says that it will work with UPN "in a coordinated manner to pursue strategic growth opportunities."

"We believe that fiber infrastructure represents an attractive area for long-term investment, particularly in underserved markets," said Pat Esser, president, Cox Communications. "UPN is led by a proven management team and is well-positioned to capitalize on the explosive demand for bandwidth driving growth within fiber infrastructure."

"Our relationship with Cox and Ridgemont will provide UPN with access to capital and an ability to leverage strategic insights and capabilities in order to accelerate our growth over the long-term. We are better positioned than ever to meet the growing demand among our customers for high-bandwidth fiber infrastructure solutions," said Kevin Anderson, CEO of UPN.

The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

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