Zayo Group announced on Wednesday that it has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by affiliates of Digital Colony Partners (“Digital Colony”) and the EQT Infrastructure IV fund (“EQT” or “EQT Infrastructure”). The transaction would result in Zayo transitioning from a public company to a private company. Under the new ownership, the Zayo team would continue to execute the Company’s strategy and remain headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. The transaction valued at $14.3 billion, including the assumption of $5.9 billion of Zayo’s net debt obligations.
Zayo leads innovation in telecom optical fiber infrastructure, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom. Zayo offers backhaul connectivity to various submarine cable landing stations in the United States. Zayo was selected by NCP members comprised of Chunghwa Telecom, KT Corporation, China Telecom, China Mobile International and China Unicom to provide a private dedicated network (PDN) to extend NCP capacity from its U.S. landing station to various carrier neutral data centers in the United States.
Zayo operates an innovative and industry-leading platform, Tranzact, which enable to shop and manage services, compare pricing and place order in minutes. Tranzact changes the way to buy bandwidth, putting the power of buying and managing at fingertips.
In addtion to backbone optical fiber infrastructure, Zayo acquired AboveNet AS6461 in 2012, to be a leading IP backbone network ranking within the Top 25 worldwide. Zayo had other multiple acquistions in the past years.
Under the terms of the agreement, which was unanimously approved by Zayo’s Board of Directors, shareholders will receive $35.00 in cash per share of Zayo's common stock in a transaction valued at $14.3 billion, including the assumption of $5.9 billion of Zayo’s net debt obligations. The offer price represents a 32% premium to the volume-weighted price average of the last six months of $26.44.
Dan Caruso, Zayo’s Chairman and CEO, said, “Digital Colony and EQT share our vision that Zayo’s Fiber Fuels Global Innovation. Both are experienced global investors in the communications infrastructure space, and they appreciate our extraordinary fiber infrastructure assets, our highly talented team and our strong customer base. I am confident this partnership with EQT and Digital Colony will empower Zayo to accelerate its growth and strengthen its industry leadership.”
Marc Ganzi, Managing Partner of Digital Colony, said, “Zayo has a world-class digital infrastructure portfolio, including a highly-dense fiber network in some of the world’s most important metro markets. We believe the company has a unique opportunity to meet the growing demand for data associated with the connectivity and backhaul requirements of a range of customers. We are excited to work alongside the management team and EQT to grow the business and expand its presence in the global market."
“We are excited by the opportunity to team up with Zayo, in a transaction reflecting EQT’s commitment to investing in market leading infrastructure companies whose innovations and services are transforming society,” said Jan Vesely, Partner at EQT Partners, Investment Advisor to EQT Infrastructure. “As one of the most active global infrastructure investors with a demonstrated track record of success in the telecommunications and fiber industry, we are confident that EQT, along with Digital Colony, are ideal partners for Zayo as the Company embarks on its next phase of growth. We look forward to working closely with Zayo’s global team, whose entrepreneurship, collaboration and customer partnerships are best in class.”
“Following a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives, the Zayo Board of Directors concluded that the sale of Zayo to Digital Colony and EQT Infrastructure is in the best interest of Zayo and all its stakeholders,” said Yancey Spruill, Zayo’s Lead Independent Director. “The transaction delivers immediate and substantial value to shareholders and will strengthen Zayo’s financial flexibility, enabling the company to increase investments and better position itself for long-term growth and profitability.”
The closing of the deal is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory clearance and Zayo shareholder approvals. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of calendar 2020.
Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are serving as financial advisors to Zayo Group in connection with the transaction and Skadden Arps is serving as legal counsel. Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank are acting as financial advisors to Digital Colony and EQT Infrastructure, and Simpson Thacher is serving as legal advisor.