Searchlight Capital Partners, L.P. (“Searchlight” or “the Firm”), a leading global private investment firm, announced today that it completed the acquisition of the Northwest operations and assets of Frontier Communications (“Frontier”) in partnership with WaveDivision Capital, LLC, (“WDC”), the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (“PSP Investments”), British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (“BCI”) and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (“CPP Investments”).
The transaction, which was first announced on May 29, 2019, is valued at $1.352 billion with an additional $500 million being invested in network and service improvements from a total commitment of approximately $2.0 billion. This investment is expected to benefit the approximately 500,000 current residential and business internet, phone and TV subscribers across four states in the Northwest: Washington; Oregon; Idaho; and Montana.
The new company will operate as Ziply FiberTM, and will be headquartered in Kirkland, Washington. Ziply Fiber is led by Harold Zeitz (CEO), formerly the President of Wave Broadband. Steve Weed, the founder of WDC and former CEO of Wave Broadband, is Executive Chairman of Ziply Fiber.
“We are delighted to partner with Steve, Harold and the Ziply team to build a leading brand and broadband network in the Northwest of the U.S.,” said Eric Zinterhofer, Founding Partner of Searchlight. “Never has the demand for fast, reliable internet been greater than at this moment. We are focused on upgrading the network to predominantly all-fiber, which will enable Ziply to deliver best-in-class symmetrical speeds in its markets.”
Harold Zeitz, CEO of Ziply Fiber, said: “We are thrilled that Searchlight and their partners recognized the opportunity to bring a fiber-based, high performance network to the Northwest states that is purpose-built for the internet. We now have the capital and the partners to help us simplify and elevate the connectivity for our home and business customers.”
Steve Weed, Executive Chairman of Ziply Fiber, commented: “This group of investors not only provides long-term capital, they also bring strategic and operational expertise that will help us deliver on our mission to bring better internet to our customers. This focus on delivering superior service will enable us to create outstanding value for all stakeholders.”
WDC and Searchlight were advised by Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
About Searchlight Capital Partners
Searchlight is a global private investment firm with over $7 billion in assets under management and offices in New York, London and Toronto. Searchlight seeks to invest in businesses where its long-term capital and strategic support accelerate value creation for all stakeholders. For more information, please visit www.searchlightcap.com.
About WaveDivision Capital
Founded in 2003 by broadband entrepreneur Steve Weed, WaveDivision Capital (“WDC”), headquartered in Kirkland, WA, is a private investment firm focused on the broadband industry. Steve was founder and CEO of Wave Broadband, and the managing directors of WDC, Harold Zeitz and Wayne Schattenkerk, were formerly the President and CFO, respectively, of Wave Broadband, which grew to one of the largest broadband companies on the West coast, until its multi-billion dollar sale in 2018. WDC’s goal is to bring better internet connections to more homes and businesses throughout North America. WDC’s current investments include Hargray Communications, Xplornet Communications, MetroNet, RCN/Wave/Grande, and Vast Broadband. You can learn more about WDC at www.wavedc.com.
About PSP Investments
The Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) is one of Canada’s largest pension investment managers with CAD$168 billion of net assets as of March 31, 2019. It manages a diversified global portfolio composed of investments in public financial markets, private equity, real estate, infrastructure, natural resources and credit investments. Established in 1999, PSP Investments manages net contributions to the pension funds of the federal Public Service, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Reserve Force. Headquartered in Ottawa, PSP Investments has its principal business office in Montreal and offices in New York, London and Hong Kong. For more information, visit investpsp.com.
With CAD$153.4 billion of managed assets as of March 31, 2019, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI) is a leading provider of investment management services to British Columbia’s public sector and one of Canada’s largest asset managers. BCI generates the investment returns that help its institutional clients build a financially secure future. With BCI’s global outlook, it seeks investment opportunities that convert savings into productive capital that will meet its clients’ risk/return requirements over time. BCI invests across a range of asset classes: fixed income; mortgages; public and private equity; real estate; infrastructure; and renewable resources. For more information about BCI, please visit www.bci.ca.
About CPP Investments
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments™) is a professional investment management organization that invests the funds not needed by the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) to pay current benefits in the best interests of 20 million contributors and beneficiaries. In order to build diversified portfolios of assets, investments in public equities, private equities, real estate, infrastructure and fixed income instruments are made by CPP Investments. Headquartered in Toronto, with offices in Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, New York City, San Francisco, São Paulo and Sydney, CPP Investments is governed and managed independently of the Canada Pension Plan and at arm’s length from governments. At December 31, 2019, the CPP Fund totalled CAD$420.4 billion. For more information about CPP Investments, please visit www.cppinvestments.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.