Macquarie to buy Cincinnati Bell in $2.9bn deal as Brookfield walks away

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Macquarie Infrastructure Partners has agreed to buy fibre-optic communications business Cincinnati Bell in a $2.9bn deal including debt.

The firm has agreed to pay $15.50 per share in a cash for the business, representing a 101 per cent premium on its closing share price of $7.72 on December 20 last year.

The firm is set to win out against fellow fund manager Brookfield Infrastructure Partners, which had secured a merger agreement with the company at $14.50 per share in cash.

Cincinnati Bell paid Brookfield a $24.8m break-up fee, after the firm declined to propose an amendment to the merger agreement.

Macquarie’s deal is expected close in the first half of this year, subject to customary closing conditions.

Ares Management Corporation will provide equity financing for the deal through its special opportunities funds.

The Ohio-based company provides high-speed internet through fiber-optic and copper networks throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Hawaii.

“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.”

Earlier this year, MIP sold its stake in the Fraser Surrey Docks to port operator DP World and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

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