A consortium led by funds managed by Morrison & Co, including Australian Retirement Trust and a managed client of UBS Asset Management is buying US fibre network company FiberLight.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but IPE Real Assets understands the deal was transacted at close to $1bn (€956m).

In a joint statement, the companies said the transaction would accelerate FiberLight’s network expansion, positioning it to take advantage of the rapidly-growing fibre infrastructure market.

FiberLight’s network comprises approximately 18,000 route miles of fibre infrastructure, servicing customers in over 30 metropolitan areas, principally in the major markets of Texas and the Northern Virginia area, the largest data centre market in the world.

Michael Weaver, Australian Retirement Trust’s head of private real and mid-risk assets, said: “We recognise the critical role of high-speed connections in today’s society, and we look forward to working with the team to help build communication infrastructure for the future.”

Morrison & Co’s CIO, William Smales, said the investment closely aligned with his company’s strategy of backing strong purpose-driven companies with highly-defensive characteristics and dependable long-term cashflows.

“As we actively expand our US business, FiberLight presents an attractive investment opportunity for our investors due to its innovative business model and strong growth potential,” he said.

FiberLight marks Morrison & Co’s first investment in the North American digital infrastructure market and its third in the North American market.

Perry Offutt, head of North America for Morrison & Co, added that as Fiberlight continued to scale and deepen its presence in key US markets, Morrison & Co would leverage its significant digital infrastructure expertise and partner with management to address the rapidly-growing demand for faster, more secure and more reliable internet access.

FiberLight’s CEO, Christopher Rabii, who will continue to lead the business through its next phase of growth and development, described Morrison & Co as an “ideal” new partner to support its growth strategy.

Rabil said the investor’s commitment of capital and resources, and its shared belief that fibre infrastructure was the key to bridging the digital divide and rapid expansion required to meet the extraordinary long-term demand.

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