Oak Hill Capital Partners targets FirstLight Fiber

Privately held fiber-optic network services provider FirstLight Fiber will soon trade one private equity owner for another. Oak Hill Capital Partners says it has signed a definitive agreement with the company's current owners, Riverside Partners, to buy FirstLight. Riverside is expected to remain a minority investor after the deal closes in the third quarter of this year.

Privately held fiber-optic network services provider FirstLight Fiber will soon trade one private equity owner for another. Oak Hill Capital Partners says it has signed a definitive agreement with the company's current owners, Riverside Partners, to buy FirstLight. Riverside is expected to remain a minority investor after the deal closes in the third quarter of this year.

The parties did not reveal the proposed sale price for Albany based FirstLight, which operates in Northern New England and New York State with connectivity to Canada (see, for example, "FirstLight Fiber adds 36,000 fiber miles to New York fiber-optic network"). FirstLight serves more than 2,000 locations, with an additional 14,000 locations serviceable via a 260,000-fiber-mile network. The company offers a variety of high-bandwidth connectivity services, including Ethernet, wavelengths, and dark fiber. It also offers dedicated Internet access, data center services, and voice services such as SIP trunks, virtual PBX, and traditional TDM.

Its client list includes national cellular providers and wireline carriers as well as enterprises in high tech manufacturing and research, hospitals and healthcare, banking and financial, secondary education, colleges and universities, and local and state governments.

Oak Hill has invested in other fiber-based services providers, such as Metronet and Cincinnati Bell. It also has invested in cable operators such as Atlantic Broadband, TriPlus, WOW and Wave, as well as data center operators such as Pulsant, TeleCity Group, and ViaWest.

"FirstLight possesses all of the attractive characteristics and growth potential that Oak Hill seeks in our fiber investments. We see tremendous opportunity to create additional value by continuing to expand FirstLight's fiber footprint while also pursuing acquisitions. We are delighted to join forces with FirstLight's talented management team and with Riverside Partners to help drive this next phase of growth," said Scott Baker, a partner at Oak Hill.

"We are excited about the possibilities that this transaction creates for FirstLight and its customers. Oak Hill brings the expertise and financial resources necessary to accelerate FirstLight's continued growth," said Kurt Van Wagenen, president and CEO of FirstLight. "Through this relationship with Oak Hill, we will continue to expand our fiber network and service offerings while continuing to focus on providing the highest quality service to our customers."

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