Crown Castle has made an offer to buy Lightower Fiber Networks from majority owner Berkshire Partners for more than $7 billion, according to Reuters, with a deal announcement possibly coming by the end of the month. Berkshire Partners has backed the business since 2013.
The deal would be the latest of a string in the fiber communications sector for Crown Castle, following a $600 million takeover agreement with Wilcon in April and a $1.5 billion acquisition of FPL FiberNet completed in January. Crown Castle (NYSE: CCI) closed Monday's trading session down 4.2%.
Corporate M&A activity in the global communications and networking space has experienced a sharp decline this year, per the PitchBook Platform, with just 131 completed transactions so far versus 391 in 2016. Part of the reason for that decline in activity, surely, has been the consolidation already undertaken by industry giants such as Crown Castle. The company’s recent expansion from telecom towers to fiber mirrors the diversification being pursued by CenturyLink and some of Crown Castle’s other competitors.