Macquarie Infrastructure Partners to buy telecoms firm Bluebird

Macquarie Infrastructure Partners (MIP) has acquired a Midwest American telecommunications business, Bluebird Network, for an undisclosed amount.

MIP, managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), has partnered with Uniti Group to finance the deal which allows Uniti to also buy Bluebird’s fibre network.

In addition, Nasdaq-listed Uniti has agreed to sell Uniti Fibre’s Midwest operations to MIP.

Uniti said it is acquiring the fibre network of Bluebird for $319m (€280m), of which $175m will be funded by Uniti in cash and $144m will come from pre-paid rent to be received from MIP at closing.

Additionally, Uniti will receive total upfront cash of $37m, including related prepaid rent to be received from MIP at the close of sale of its Midwest operations.

Under the terms of the transactions, Bluebird will lease back the fibre and will also lease Uniti’s Midwestern fibre network.

Uniti’s president and CEO, Kenny Gunderman, said: “We believe the deal structure can be replicated with other operating partners in the future. Today’s announcement lays the foundation for similar transactions.”

As of September 30, 2018, Uniti, an internally-managed real estate investment trust, owned 5.4m fibre strand miles, approximately 850 wireless towers, and other communications real estate throughout the US and Latin America.

Karl Kuchel, CEO of MIP, said: “As bandwidth needs continue to increase, fibre has become the essential backbone for high-performance connectivity networks.

“We look forward to working with the Bluebird team to grow the platform in the years ahead.”

Michael Morey, CEO of Bluebird, said investment by MIP and the addition of the adjacent network uniquely positioned Bluebird as a scaled strategic network and data centre provider in the Midwest.

Bluebird provides high bandwidth network solutions within rural and urban areas throughout the Midwest, focussing on connecting rural areas to major cities.

The transactions are subject to regulatory and other customary conditions, and are expected to close by the end of the third quarter of 2019.

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  • Bluebird Network

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