Bluebird to Immediately Expand Midwest Fiber Footprint; Uniti Group to Finance the Transaction Through a Sale / Leaseback Agreement
COLUMBIA, MISSOURI — January 15, 2019 — Bluebird Network, LLC, (“Bluebird” or the “Company”) a Midwest telecommunications company, is being acquired by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners (“MIP”) for an undisclosed amount. MIP is a long-term infrastructure investment fund that is managed by the Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (“MIRA”) division of Macquarie Group.
MIP has partnered with Uniti Group Inc. (NASDAQ: UNIT) (“Uniti”) to finance the transaction. Uniti will acquire Bluebird’s fiber network and then lease it back to Bluebird under a long-term lease. As part of the transaction, Bluebird will also acquire Uniti’s Midwestern fiber business and receive a long-term lease over Uniti’s Midwestern fiber network, which consists of approximately 2,500 miles of network predominantly in Illinois. Upon completion of the transactions the two adjacent networks will be combined and operated as one company under the Bluebird name. The Company will be operated by the existing Bluebird management team and employee-base headquartered in Columbia, MO, led by Chief Executive Officer, Michael Morey.
“We are very pleased to partner with Bluebird’s experienced management team as MIP expands its portfolio of investments in communications infrastructure,” said Karl Kuchel, CEO of MIP. “As bandwidth needs continue to increase, fiber has become the essential backbone for high-performance connectivity networks. We look forward to working with the Bluebird team to growing the platform in the years ahead”
“This is an exciting opportunity for Bluebird. The investment by MIP and the addition of the adjacent network uniquely positions Bluebird as a scaled strategic network and data center provider in the Midwest,” adds Michael Morey, CEO of Bluebird. “With our existing team in place and an expanded network and customer set, Bluebird will be well placed to serve wholesale and enterprise customers, and for platform growth throughout the Midwest and beyond.”
Bluebird provides high bandwidth network solutions within rural and urban areas throughout the Midwest, focusing on connecting rural areas to major cities. The company provides a wide variety of network services to enterprise and carrier customers, including secure and reliable bandwidth, Metro Ethernet, Wide Area Network Ethernet, Dedicated Internet Access, E-Line Services, Ethernet Virtual Private LAN Service (E-LAN) and Mobile Backhaul Transport services. Bluebird’s fiber optic infrastructure also connects to the Bluebird Underground Data Center, an underground colocation facility located in Springfield, Missouri.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary terms and conditions, and is expected to be closed by the end of the third quarter of 2019.
MVP Capital Advisors served as exclusive financial advisor to Bluebird on the transaction.
To learn more about Bluebird, please visit www.bluebirdnetwork.com.
# # #
Bluebird, headquartered in Columbia, Missouri, was formed by integrating Bluebird Media and Missouri Network Alliance. In 2014, an underground data center was acquired and created Bluebird Underground, adding a data center facility to the Bluebird suite of services. Today, the network has over 5,200 fiber route miles of high-speed broadband and fiber-optic connections. The Bluebird fiber network also has over 127 Points of Presence (POP) sites spanning the Midwest, including the major cities of St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Tulsa. To learn more, please visit www.bluebirdnetwork.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Uniti, an internally managed real estate investment trust, is engaged in the acquisition and construction of mission critical communications infrastructure, and is a leading provider of wireless infrastructure solutions for the communications industry. As of September 30, 2018, Uniti owns 5.4 million fiber strand miles, approximately 850 wireless towers, and other communications real estate throughout the United States and Latin America. Additional information about Uniti can be found on its website at www.uniti.com.
About Macquarie Infrastructure Partners
MIP is an investment fund managed by Macquarie Infrastructure. MIP is an investment fund managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA). As of its most recent reporting date (September 30, 2017), MIRA had assets under management of $US111 billion invested in 137 portfolio businesses, ~300 properties and ~4.5 million hectares of farmland. MIRA is a division of Macquarie Asset Management, the asset management arm of Macquarie Group, a diversified financial group providing clients with asset management, banking, advisory and risk and capital solutions across debt, equity and commodities.
About MVP Capital Advisors, LLC
MVP Capital Advisors provides merger and acquisition, private debt and equity capital raising, and strategic and valuation advisory services to the telecommunications, media, technology and renewable energy sectors. For more information, please visit www.mvpcapital.com.
Media Contact for Bluebird Network:
iMiller Public Relations