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Cincinnati Bell has been upgrading its network with next-generation fiber to support the growing demand for data and the broader rollout of 5G services
FREMONT, CA: Cincinnati Bell struck a $2.9 billion deal to be acquired by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners (MIP). Near the end of last December, Toronto-based conglomerate Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP announced it was buying Cincinnati Bell for $2.6 billion, but ultimately was out-bid by MIP.
"After carefully evaluating MIP's revised offer, we are confident that this transaction is in the best interest of Cincinnati Bell and its shareholders," said Lynn A. Wentworth, chairman of the Cincinnati Bell board of directors. "Importantly, the new transaction price of $15.50 per share represents a 7 percent increase from our previous merger agreement with Brookfield at $14.50 per share and a 101 percent premium to Cincinnati Bell's closing per share price of $7.72 on December 20, 2019, the last trading day prior to the date when the original merger agreement with Brookfield was entered into. This underscores the robust and disciplined process that we executed to ensure immediate and maximum value creation for our shareholders."
Cincinnati Bell has "future-proofed" 50 percent of its network, representing more than 17,000 miles of dense metro and last-mile fiber, and has planned further to upgrade its network over the next few years. The ongoing fiber upgrade will enable the company to provide utility-like services for broadband and data, which it hopes will generate stable and growing cash flows.
While AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink have nationwide fiber footprints, there's still plenty of demand for fiber-based services and applications in secondary or regional markets. In addition to serving the Midwest, Cincinnati Bell has a significant fiber presence in Hawaii after buying Hawaiian Telcom two years ago for about $650 million.
The deal between Cincinnati Bell and MIP is expected to close in the first half of next year after it passes the customary losing conditions.
"Given the significant investment that the company has made into its fiber network, Cincinnati Bell represents a truly differentiated platform compared to other network providers," said MIP Chief Executive Officer Karl Kuchel. "We are pleased to partner with the experienced management team to continue to expand the fiber footprint and bring high bandwidth connectivity to homes and businesses in the company's service territories. The investment in Cincinnati Bell represents an exciting addition to our portfolio of fiber and communications infrastructure assets, both in the United States and globally."
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