Lightower, Sidera Merge in Deal Reportedly Worth $2B-Plus

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**Editor's Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in Q3 2012 or here for the biggest M&A during that time in the service-provider and BSS/OSS spaces.**

Two heavy-hitters in the fiber- and bandwidth-provisioning industry are merging.

On Thursday, Lightower Fiber Networks and Sidera Networks said they are joining forces in a transaction worth more than $2 billion. Both companies are backed by private equity firms. The deal requires regulatory approval and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013. Rob Shanahan, CEO of Lightower, will lead the combined company. Other executive appointments have not been named.

Together, the fiber providers plan to offer more services and more access options over more routes. Each now supplies Ethernet, dark fiber, wavelengths, Internet access, private networks and colocation services. The combined Lightower-Sidera, whose post-merger name has not been announced, will operate throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, across 20,000 route miles and in 6,000 on-net locations. Those facilities include commercial buildings, data centers, financial exchanges and content hubs. Customer profiles include government agencies, enterprises and carriers; both Lightower and Sidera sell through channel partners.

The Lightower-Sidera merger is being led by Boston-headquartered Berkshire Partners, an investment firm with capital commitments of about $11 billion. Berkshire is buying Lightower and Sidera from their respective investors and then merging the two companies. Lightower's current investors include M/C Partners, Pamlico Capital and Ridgemont Equity Partners. Sidera's include ABRY Partners and Spectrum Equity Investors. Lightower investor Pamlico Capital and Sidera investor ABRY Partners will remain investors in the new business.

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