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Berkshire Partners leads $2bn MBO, merger of Lightower, Sidera

28 Dec 2012

Boston-based private equity investor Berkshire Partners has led the MBO and merger of network services providers Lightower Fiber Networks and Sidera Networks in a $2bn deal.

Pamlico Capital, a significant Lightower investor, and Sidera investor ABRY Partners will continue to hold stakes in the new company, which will be led by current Lightower CEO Rob Shanahan.

M/C Partners and Pamlico bought Lightower from National Grid in 2007.

The merger is pending regulatory approval and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.

Following the merger the combined company will operate a high-performance fibre-optic based network through the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest areas of the US.

Berkshire managing director Randy Peeler said, “Berkshire is excited to be working with both Lightower and Sidera – two great companies and two great teams.

“We have invested in the telecommunications infrastructure space for nearly 20 years and believe that the combined company, with its incredibly robust network, is well positioned for continued growth serving customers with an ever-increasing need for high-performance bandwidth.”

Current Lightower investors also include Ridgemont Equity Partners, while Spectrum Equity Investors has a stake in Sidera.

Two weeks ago Berkshire hired Michael Miles, the president of $25bn office products supplier Staples, as an advisory director.

Miles will be tasked with sourcing new investment ideas and working as an operating adviser to portfolio companies.

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