Midwestern service provider Bluebird Network, LLC, says it has reached an agreement to be acquired by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners (MIP). The financing for the deal, expected to close by the end of the third quarter of this year, will see MIP partner with Uniti Group Inc. (NASDAQ: UNIT) in a manner that will see fiber assets swap between Uniti and Bluebird, resulting in a larger fiber network footprint.
The price MIP will pay for Bluebird Network was not disclosed. MIP is a long-term infrastructure investment fund managed by the Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets division of Macquarie Group. Uniti is a REIT with both fiber-optic network and wireless tower assets. To help fund the deal, MIP has collaborated with Uniti in an arrangement that will see Uniti acquire Bluebird’s fiber network, which it will then lease back to Bluebird. Meanwhile, Bluebird will acquire Uniti’s Midwestern fiber business and receive a long-term lease over Uniti’s 2,500-mile Midwestern fiber network for that as well. The two fiber networks will be combined and operated as a single company under the Bluebird name. Bluebird CEO Michael Morey will run the new company.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Bluebird. The investment by MIP and the addition of the adjacent network uniquely positions Bluebird as a scaled strategic network and data center provider in the Midwest,” said Morey. “With our existing team in place and an expanded network and customer set, Bluebird will be well placed to serve wholesale and enterprise customers, and for platform growth throughout the Midwest and beyond.”
Bluebird provides fiber network services to enterprise and carrier customers within rural and urban areas throughout the Midwest, with a focus on connecting rural areas to major cities (see, for example, “Bluebird Network to launch 100G services to connect metropolitan center to rural Missouri”). The company also operates the Bluebird Underground Data Center, an underground colocation facility located in Springfield, MO (see “Bluebird Network adds 4,700 square feet of white space to underground data center”).
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