Network Mergers & Acquisitions – 2017 Recap

A combination of political transition, economic forces, and good timing may have helped to fuel the brisk pace of mergers and acquisitions in the telecommunications industry this year.

Here are some of the highlights from the biggest M&A moves by Telecommunications companies in 2017:

GTT acquired Global Capacity for $160M – GTT continued its spree of early summer acquisitions, signing a deal to acquire Global Capacity, scaling its last mile connectivity reach to over 9.6 million U.S. commercial addresses. GTT also acquired managed services provider Transbeam for $28M, added trans-Atlantic and European fiber with the acquisition of Hibernia Networks for $590M, purchased financial specialist Perseus for $38M and reseller Giglinx for $21M.

Level 3 now part of CenturyLink; $34 billion buy closes – Colorado’s two biggest telecom employers have combined into one company. CenturyLink has completed its $24 billion stock-and-cash acquisition of Broomfield-based Level 3 Communications.

Windstream acquired Broadview Networks for $228M, enhancing the service provider’s unified communications (UC) solutions for small and medium business (SMB) customers.

Zayo closed their acquisition of Electric Lightwave – Zayo announced it has closed its $1.42 billion acquisition of Electric Lightwave (formerly known as Integra Telecom), an infrastructure and telecom services provider serving 35 markets in the western U.S. Zayo also purchased Spread Networks for $127 million in cash. Spread Networks is a privately-owned telecommunications provider that owns and operates a 825-mile, high-fiber count long haul route connecting New York and Chicago.

Verizon closes the XO deal – Last year one of the most surprising acquisitions was announced as Verizon agreed to buy XO Communications from Carl Icahn. Early this year, Verizon finally finished with all the necessary regulatory hurdles and closed the deal.

Verizon acquired Straight Path for $3.1B, ending bidding war with AT&T – Verizon isn’t much interested in more 600 MHz spectrum, but it isn’t afraid to spend heavily to bulk up on its high-band airwaves. Straight Path said it had inked “a definitive merger agreement” that will see the nation’s top wireless service provider pay roughly $3.1 billion in an all-stock transaction, ending an aggressive bidding war with AT&T for the company’s airwaves. Verizon will fork over a termination fee of $38 million to AT&T. Verizon also closed the Yahoo acquisition this year. The completion of the acquisition marks the end of the line for Yahoo as a standalone Internet company, a storied tech pioneer once valued at more than $100 billion. Another purchase by Verizon this year was for the WideOpenWest fiber network in Chicago.

AT&T commits to Time Warner deal even as judge delays deadline – The U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit to block AT&T Inc. from buying Time Warner Inc. will go to trial March 19, 2018, a later date than the companies had sought to begin their epic legal fight with the government.

PCCW acquires Console Connect – PCCW and HKT Trust have teamed up to acquire the software platform and proprietary technology of Console Connect.

Mitel completes $530 million acquisition of ShoreTel – Mitel completed its acquisition of fellow unified communications vendor ShoreTel for $530 million making the company one of the largest Unified-Communications-as-a-Service vendors in the world.

Tower operator Crown Castle buys Lightower – Crown Castle purchased privately held Lightower Fiber Networks for about $7.1 billion in cash to expand its fiber footprint in urban areas of the U.S. northeast.

Cincinnati Bell Makes Two Deals – Cincinnati Bell made two inorganic moves, surging onto the consolidation stage in a rather unexpected way. The Midwestern service provider has signed definitive agreements to combine with Hawaiian Telecom and to acquire OnX Enterprise Solutions.

Stay tuned for the next post in our M&A series – Cloud. You can find our earlier post on 2017 Data Center M&A here.

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