A lot goes into a simple cell phone call. Aside from making the phone itself, cellular towers need to be constructed, equipment to pick up signals needs to be developed and manufactured, and satellites sometimes need to be shot into space. Anything to get past all the wires. Life is a little less cluttered thanks to the wireless industry and, for the private equity realm, a little more lucrative.
Since the beginning of 2005, PE firms have invested in 143 U.S.- or Canada-based companies in the wireless communications industry, according to the PitchBook Platform. Deal activity spiked in 2011 to 34 deals (double 2010's 17 deals), but much of that is due to a shopping spree involving Catalyst Investors and several wireless tower sites. Aside from the 2011 surge, deal activity has been relatively calm since a strong 2007. This year's deal activity is on pace to slightly surpass last year's (8 in 2013 to date; 14 in 2012).