Month: September 2020

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DataBank to buy zColo data centers from Zayo

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Source: Fierce Telecom

DataBank announced on Tuesday that it has a definitive agreement in place to buy Zayo Holding’s zColo data centers.The zColo data centers would bring 44 additional data centers into the DataBank portfolio, including 13 key interconnect facilities across 23 markets in Europe and the U.S.

The deal is slated to close by the end of this year once it passes customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Financial terms of the deal weren’t available.

In addition to the physical assets, the deal will also add new customers to DataBank’s bottom line.  Zayo Group will become a significant customer and continue to be an anchor tenant within the zColo facilities.

DataBank customers will benefit from access to Zayo’s global fiber network in order to get their data anywhere in the world. With a long-term agreement in place, the companies expect to collaborate closely on bringing colocation solutions to Zayo’s fiber customers and private fiber network solutions to DataBank’s colocation and cloud customers.

“This agreement allows both parties to focus on their core strengths,” said Dan Caruso, Zayo Group’s CEO, in a statement. “We’ll continue building the most fiber-rich digital infrastructure in the world while DataBank focuses on hosting the innovations and digital workloads that our fiber and network infrastructure were designed to fuel.”

Having assembled one of the densest metro and long-haul fiber networks in the U.S., Zayo’s data center assets also bring to DataBank network hubs and carrier hotel facilities, making it one of the largest providers of network-neutral interconnections in DataBank’s footprint.

The deal was funded by an investor group led by Colony Capital, Inc., DataBank’s controlling shareholder, which includes Nuveen Real Estate and others. In addition to leading a consortium of institutional investors to support the acquisition, Colony Capital is investing $145 million from its balance sheet to maintain its 20% stake in DataBank.

Last year Zayo Group agreed to be acquired by affiliates of Digital Colony Partners and the EQT Infrastructure IV fund. As part of the deal, Zayo converted from being a public company to a private company.

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Landmark Infrastructure logo

Landmark Infrastructure Partners LP Announces Completion of $52.5 Million Digital Infrastructure Acquisition

Source: Globe Newswire

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Sept. 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Landmark Infrastructure Partners LP (the “Partnership” or “Landmark”) (NASDAQ: LMRK) announced today that it has completed the acquisition of a data center portfolio in the Midwest from a market leader in web hosting and managed cloud services.   The portfolio includes three data center sites totaling approximately 138,000 square feet and a 5.2 megawatt critical capacity that are fully occupied by the tenant under a 15 year net lease.   The acquisition was funded by borrowings from the Partnership’s existing revolving credit facility and is expected to be immediately accretive to Landmark’s adjusted funds from operations (“AFFO”).

“We are extremely pleased to announce this acquisition from a national market leader in its industries,” said Tim Brazy, Chief Executive Officer of the Partnership’s general partner. “We believe our Sponsor has built a best-in-class digital infrastructure platform and that effort should continue to benefit the Partnership as it grows its data center portfolio. This purchase represents a partial redeployment of the capital from the recent sale of our European outdoor advertising portfolio and we will continue to look for attractive acquisition opportunities going forward.”

CBRE’s Jordan Thompson and David Saad represented the seller in the transaction.

About Landmark Infrastructure Partners LP

The Partnership owns and manages a portfolio of real property interests and infrastructure assets that the Partnership leases to companies in the wireless communication, outdoor advertising, renewable power generation and digital infrastructure industries. 

Graphic of long hallway with servers on sides

Brookfield Infrastructure Sees a 100-Year Investment Opportunity in Data

Source: The Motley Fool

The global infrastructure owner plans to significantly increase its investment in data infrastructure given the massive opportunity it sees ahead.

Data is the oil of the digital economy. Like crude over the last couple of centuries, information is what drives the new economy forward. The similarities don’t stop there because, like oil, data relies on infrastructure to transform it from its raw form into something more useful. However, instead of pipelines, processing plants, and storage terminals, data needs fiber optic cables, telecommunication towers, and data centers to keep the digital economy humming along. 

That leaves a massive opportunity for companies to build out and operate data infrastructure. One of the many focused on this space is Brookfield Infrastructure (NYSE:BIP)(NYSE:BIPC), which has been pouring capital into acquiring and developing data infrastructure in recent years. It expects that trend to accelerate and last for many decades, given the opportunity it sees ahead for data infrastructure.

A century-long investment opportunity

The oil industry spent more than a century building out the infrastructure needed to support the economy’s ever-growing thirst for crude. Brookfield sees a similar megatrend investment opportunity in data as the economy consumes an increasing amount of digital information.

Overall, two factors drive the need for more infrastructure investments in the near-term. First, the existing data infrastructure is aging. As a result, it’s struggling to keep up with growing global technology demand growth. Second, the telecom industry needs to replace existing networks with faster and leaner fiber infrastructure and prepare to support the roll-out of 5G technology. These upgrades will require an estimated $1 trillion of global capital investments over the next five years alone. Meanwhile, the longer-term investment opportunity is equally vast, likely to power steady growth for infrastructure companies.

Accelerating its investment strategy

Given the enormousness of the data infrastructure market opportunity, Brookfield plans to invest an increasing amount of capital into the sector over the next several years. It has been methodically building out a data infrastructure platform in recent years. Brookfield launched into this sector in late 2014 when it participated in a consortium to acquire a 50% stake in a French communication tower infrastructure business, investing $500 million into that $2.2 billion deal. Meanwhile, over the past three years, the company has invested about 20% of its $1.5 billion average annual growth capital spending (or roughly $300 million per year) into building its data infrastructure platform. 

However, it has accelerated its investments in the sector this year, already spending half of its $1.7 billion growth investment on data infrastructure. The main drivers were a $150 million equity investment in a U.K. telecom business and a $600 million equity investment in an Indian telecom towers portfolio.

The company expects to continue allocating an outsized portion of its capital to expanding its data infrastructure operations over the next three to five years. In its view, it will increase its overall growth investment spending target to more than $2 billion per year. Meanwhile, it anticipates allocating 35% of that higher budget on data-related investments during that period, up from 20% of its lower investment rate during the previous three years.

Some of that shift is because many of its recent acquisitions included an embedded growth component. For example, there’s growth potential at its Indian tower portfolio as it builds additional towers to support its current tenant and add new ones to existing towers. Meanwhile, in late 2018, the company partnered with REIT Digital Realty (NYSE:DLR) to acquire Ascenty, a data center business in Latin America. When they bought the company, it had eight data centers in Brazil in operation and 14 total when including those under construction. It now has 22 in operation or under construction and has expanded its reach into Chile and Mexico.

Meanwhile, the other driver of the company’s accelerated investment in data will be additional acquisitions. Given the industry’s need for capital, Brookfield will likely focus on acquiring data infrastructure companies that need access to funding for organic expansion projects or to make bolt-on acquisitions. For example, Brookfield tried to buy Cincinnati Bell (NYSE:CBB) earlier this year to accelerate the expansion of its fiber network. While a rival infrastructure fund outbid it for that company, there’s no shortage of capital-starved data infrastructure companies out there, suggesting it should have plenty of opportunities to acquire other companies or business units. 

An ultra-long-term investment opportunity

Because Brookfield Infrastructure believes we’re still in the early innings of a data infrastructure investment megacycle, the company anticipates that it will have an increasing amount of compelling investment opportunities in the sector over the next several years, which is driving it to boost its spending target and allocation to the space. That bright outlook suggests that the company should have no problem continuing to generate outsized total returns for its investors, making it the ultimate buy-and-hold stock to create long-term wealth.

large yellow cables plugging into servers

Beyond Colo: Equinix Repositions as Digital Infrastructure Company

Source: Data Center Frontier

Equinix is not just about colocation anymore. The company is reinforcing that reality with new branding that positions Equinix as “the world’s digital infrastructure company.”

“It expands our lens and get beyond just colocation and interconnection,” said Jon Lin, the President, Americas for Equinix. “It’s about any of the ways customers can connect to one another, and how companies use digital infrastructure.”

In seeking to move beyond traditional product-based understandings of data center services, Equinix is also looking to forge an identity that encompasses a broader range of offerings, which now includes hyperscale data centers and software-defined connectivity. The company is also pushing into services with its acquisition of Packet and its bare metal cloud services.

Equinix is not alone in this effort, as other leading players are also diversifying and defining platforms that can deliver customer solutions across product categories and geographies. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven home the critical nature of data centers, which function as a lifeline for the global economy being tied together by digital networks.

Digital Leadership as a Customer Magnet

So what’s new in the Equinix messaging? The company’s shift will feature “digital leadership,” both for Equinix and its customers.

“Platform Equinix is where digital leaders bring together all the right places, partners and possibilities they need to succeed,” Equinix says in its new positioning language, which was unveiled to analysts yesterday.

This builds on the Equinix’ belief that companies that embrace a digital transformation of their IT operations will have a competitive advantage, and interconnection will play a central role in that process. This message is particularly timely during the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many enterprises to lean heavily on digital networks to support a sudden shift to a socially distanced, work-from-home economy.

The repositioning by Equinix is part of a broader evolution for a mature industry asserting its essential place in the world, and the best way to talk about it.

“All of our conversations with customers have reinforced how important it is” to have an agile infrastructure, Lin said. “A lot of them are saying, ‘thank God we did this, or our remote workforce wouldn’t work.’ We’ve been working really hard to accelerate that shift, and there’s a huge segment of enterprises that can benefit from it.”

At the heart of that pitch is the company’s shift from physical network connections to software-defined networking (SDN), offering network capacity that can be configured through a web portal, dramatically simplifying the way data center customers manage their connectivity.

“We see the future as the Equinix Fabric, because it will become the default way people connect with one another in a software-defined, instantaneous fashion,” said Lin. “We expect our customers to find new novel ways to use the fabric.” As an example, Lin said customers are now using the Equinix Cloud Exchange (ECX) Fabric to connect with their supply chain, improving security by reducing the need to provide remote access to third parties.

The Language of Data Center Marketing

Why pay attention to a shift in marketing language? As the largest and most successful colocation provider, Equinix has an outsized voice in conversations about data center services. It was the first data center company to market itself as a platform, which is now a broadly-held aspiration in the industry.

As a colocation specialist, the company historically offered space in cages and cabinets where customers could deploy their own IT equipment. As Equinix moves beyond “power, pipes and ping,” it influences the competitive landscape for other colo providers, further blurring the lines between traditional business models.

To be sure, there are plenty of folks who still pay close attention to the differences between retail colocation, wholesale data centers, and managed services. Heading that list are data center investors, who closely track the different rates of return for different business models, and how they will impact exit strategies and valuation. Public companies like Equinix – which is now a real estate investment trust (REIT) – have more leeway to emphasize a broad portfolio of services with varying rates of return.

The new Equinix marketing reflects an ongoing attempt to reframe how folks talk about data centers. Gartner has advocated retiring the term “data centers,” instead calling these facilities “centers of data” or “centers of data exchange.”

Rest assured, we won’t be changing the name of our publication to “Centers of Data Frontier.” But we’ve been using the term “digital infrastructure” a lot more due to the convergence of data centers with wireless infrastructure, fiber and telecom towers. Several industry conferences have made a similar transition.

“There’s a recognition that we’re trying to expand the conversation beyond colocation and interconnection,” said Lin. “We are the world’s digital infrastructure company. It’s aspirational.”

MacQuarie logo

The Future of Infrastructure is Digital: Macquarie

Source: Financial Standard

FRIDAY, 18 SEP 2020   12:09PM

COVID-19 has only served to accelerate the already growing trend towards digital infrastructure, according to Macquarie Infrastructure Partners (MIP).

Speaking to Financial Standard as part of the JANA Annual Conference, chief executive of MIP, Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, Karl Kuchel said the trend was already showing prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We look at COVID-19 as being an accelerator of a data growth trend that was already well-established. I think investors have recognized that digital infrastructure is a key component of a diversified infrastructure portfolio,” Kuchel said.

“It’s now being accepted by a large group of infrastructure investors as providing diversification benefits and potentially a higher growth outlook.  It makes sense to have that sort of exposure in a general infrastructure portfolio.”

Kuchel said within the sector there are a whole host of different opportunities, much like in the traditional infrastructure space.

“You can go from lower growth, more yield focused opportunities to higher growth opportunities; you have the same in digital infrastructure,” he said.

“With different types of digital infrastructure assets you have different risk-return characteristics, and so it comes down to what investors are looking to achieve from their investments.”

Kuchel said that as data continues to become a larger part of everyone’s daily lives, the reliance of digital infrastructure will grow alongside it.

“We are consuming more on a personal basis, but also more data is being generated by various other devices and all that is all being aggregated, stored and then used to deliver services, or outcomes, for end users,” he said.

“Digital infrastructure assets, as we work through the pandemic, are not seeing that general correlation with GDP; people aren’t watching Netflix less because of the pandemic. If anything, data volumes are accelerating.”

Kuchel said MIR has been seeing consistent growth in internet traffic in the US, for example, of around 20% year on year pre-pandemic.

“Since then we have seen that growth rate double as people have been working from home, or simply spending more time in a home environment,” Kuchel said.

FiberLight logo

FiberLight’s Strategic Recapitalization with Guggenheim Partners Empowers Ongoing Mission-Critical Fiber Network Deployments

Source: FiberLight

ATLANTA – SEPTEMBER 16, 2020 – FiberLight, LLC, a fiber infrastructure provider with more than 20 years of experience building and operating mission-critical, high-bandwidth networks, announces the successful completion of a strategic recapitalization, including $325 million in financing, with clients of Guggenheim Investments, the global asset management and investment advisory division of Guggenheim Partners. With this strong institutional backing, FiberLight will further strengthen its lit and dark fiber network solutions and service excellence, ensuring its current and potential customers benefit from diverse connectivity services that suit an evolving digital landscape.

Across the globe, wireless providers, hyperscalers, data centers, enterprises, healthcare institutions, municipalities and more are looking to transform their IT frameworks to accommodate a growing demand for data and accessibility with lower latencies, faster speeds and higher capacity. The global pandemic has significantly accelerated this transformation, making connectivity and robust networking even more vital for operational success in light of recent remote work situations and widespread dependence on virtual means. With decades of experience designing, engineering, building and optimizing fiber optic networks, FiberLight serves as a strategic and trusted partner to customers as they expand or reinvent their fiber infrastructure to suit evolving data demands and achieve better agility, availability, security, reliability, scalability and more.

“At FiberLight, we are driven by a core dedication to ensuring reliability for businesses, improving reach for their network solutions and enabling our partners and customers across an array of verticals,” states Jim Lynch, CEO of FiberLight. “This strategic recapitalization aligns with and supports this commitment, opening up new possibilities not only for FiberLight, but more importantly for our customers who rely on our solutions to get the results they need to be competitive and to flourish in this digital era. We’re excited to work with our new lending partner, as they understand digital infrastructure and support our next phase of company growth.”

“We are happy to have the opportunity to partner with FiberLight and provide capital to fuel their growth both today and in the future,” said Taylor Harrington, a Senior Originator in Guggenheim Investments’ Corporate Credit division. “FiberLight fits squarely into our mandate to finance best-in-class, growing businesses with strong management teams, and we look forward to working closely with them over the coming years,” added Joe McCurdy, Head of Originations for Guggenheim Investments’ Corporate Credit division.

FiberLight delivers 20 years of dedicated expertise designing, building, maintaining and operating large-scale, custom, high-capacity fiber infrastructure in some of the country’s most rapidly growing areas. The company’s dark fiber solutions deliver complete operational control, security and scalability, improving business operations and provisioning peace of mind for network and data center providers, large enterprises across the U.S. and up-the-stack partners looking to evolve their networking capabilities.

To learn more about FiberLight, please visit www.fiberlight.com.

Bank Street Group LLC served as exclusive financial advisor and placement agent to FiberLight in connection with the transaction.

About Guggenheim Investments:

Guggenheim Investments is the global asset management and investment advisory division of Guggenheim Partners, with more than $220 billion* in total assets across fixed income, equity, and alternative strategies. We focus on the return and risk needs of insurance companies, corporate and public pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, endowments and foundations, consultants, wealth managers, and high-net-worth investors. Our 300+ investment professionals perform rigorous research to understand market trends and identify undervalued opportunities in areas that are often complex and underfollowed. This approach to investment management has enabled us to deliver innovative strategies providing diversification opportunities and attractive long-term results. *Assets under management is as of 06.30.2020 and includes leverage of $13bn. Guggenheim Investments represents the following affiliated investment management businesses of Guggenheim Partners, LLC: Guggenheim Partners Investment Management, LLC, Security Investors, LLC, Guggenheim Funds Distributors, LLC, Guggenheim Funds Investment Advisors, LLC, Guggenheim Corporate Funding, LLC, Guggenheim Partners Europe Limited, GS GAMMA Advisors, LLC, and Guggenheim Partners India Management. Securities offered through Guggenheim Funds Distributors, LLC.

About FiberLight:

FiberLight designs, builds and deploys mission-critical high bandwidth networks to ignite our client’s digital transformation. With 14,000 route miles of fiber networks and 78,000 pre-qualified near-net buildings, FiberLight operates in over 30 metropolitan areas in the U.S. Our service portfolio includes high-capacity Ethernet and Wave Transport Services, Cloud Connect, Dedicated Internet Access, Dark Fiber and Wireless Backhaul serving domestic and international telecom companies, wireless, wireline, cable and cloud providers as well as key players across enterprise, government and education. For more information, visit www.fiberlight.com.

The Remote Work Reality is Driving New Opportunities for 5G, Edge and IoT

Source: TheFastMode.com

By: Jeff Sharp

As Coronavirus has forced social distancing to take over most of our lives, companies have been relying on and enforcing remote working policies. This has led many employees to master the art of video-conferencing, adopt new file sharing services, making more calls to colleagues, and spend more time online and emailing.

Our world is becoming increasingly data-driven, and this new “normal” has only accelerated that process. The World Economic Forum estimates that there is 44 ZB of accumulated data generated by this year. That’s 44 sextillion bytes – 40 times more bits of data than the number of stars that exist in the (observable) universe.

As companies and workers are now relying more and more on such digital platforms to stay connected, this huge increase in data usage has put some strain on our internet and mobile infrastructure. Workplace communication tools such as Zoom, WebEx and Microsoft Teams are now more important than ever, with Teams seeing a drastic increase from 20 million to 75 million active daily users from November 2019 to April 2020. Even entertainment companies are seeing a need to improve their infrastructure. YouTube saw immense growth in viewership traffic starting in April, and Netflix gained 15.77 million new paid subscribers globally between February and April, well above their predicted 7 million.

These software companies’ ability to meet the demands of this growing traffic is entirely dependent on the capacity of their network and data infrastructure. Netflix and YouTube had to enact resolution caps to keep up with the increased traffic, while Zoom couldn’t handle the initial stress and crashed. As businesses will require more and more real-time decision-making, streaming data becomes paramount – which translates to additional investments in the latest 5G and hardware solutions.

Latency and system degradation from an abundance of users can be mitigated by the inherent capabilities of 5G, making the current opportunity for this rising technology huge.

The big opportunity

This demand for improved digital infrastructure is driving the development and adoption of new 5G, Edge and IoT technologies. There are ultimately two opportunities for the two major parts of the network.

The first is the core network, which is slowly trending towards cloud-native and virtualized systems. This capability is thanks to the widespread adoption and advancement of machine learning solutions. One of the basic premises of 5G networks is that they are designed to leverage virtualisation and containers on open hardware platforms to reduce dependence on proprietary legacy hardware. Hence the market is embracing new hardware solutions that adopt open 5G RAN architecture for the evolution of 4G to 5G networks.

The second is the radio itself, which is constrained by the digital signal processing. While the radio can be operated in controlled environment like a core or regional datacenter – in rural of widespread urban areas it needs to be moved closer to where bay stations are located. 5G holds the promise of 1,000 times more bandwidth than 4G and LTE, a tenth of the latency, and the ability to support millions of connected devices per mile, a significant capability in the era of IoT.

The demands of these new 5G applications is pushing data centers out to the edge, empowering new and improved hardware solutions for both storage and compute. The most notable being new forms of micro data centers being developed on the market. Some are the size of a refrigerator, making it easier for businesses to build and manage localized data centers in cramped or urban locations. And others are essentially a “data center on a pole,” designed to survive harsh environments and allow compact edge computing solutions to be built into small cells and cell towers themselves.

The next stage

Ultimately, these two opportunities are closely intertwined. As data center technology is being designed for 5G and the edge, there is a need for increased performance, open-source software and new data standards to adapt to 5G applications, like virtual shopping experiences for retailers or connected wearable and internal health devices. Agile software-defined infrastructure capable of supporting simultaneous apps will be a requirement for many 5G use cases.

For what this should eventually look like: Radio Access Networks (RAN) should be centralised and virtualised into server-based Centralised Units (CUs) and Distributed Units (DUs), slimming down fixed-function hardware into Remote Radio Units (RRUs). With this in place, specially designed servers at the edge of the network can support real-time applications (such as interfacing with smart home devices) with basic computing and AI inferencing. And for the network itself, the 4G Evolved Packet Core (EPC) functions can be exchanged with 5G Core components executed as virtualised network functions (VNFs) through the cloud and remote data centers.

With this type of infrastructure – dependable data centres, the cloud, virtualised RAN, and edge computing all working together – businesses can best deliver on the promises of oft-touted 5G applications. It will allow any enterprise to effectively deploy and manage widespread deployments and networks across the cloud and customer environments – vital for scenarios where a company’s workforce is spread across a wide area, such as the current remote work reality.

This is particularly needed for modern IoT deployments, or edge computing solutions that require continuous AI inferencing. This new type of virtualized architecture is allowing businesses to adopt new and advanced AI compute models that are pushing machine learning solutions at the edge forward. But to properly take advantage of this for 5G implementations, businesses require optimised hardware and intensive virtualisation solutions.

These advanced IoT deployments combined with the continued spread of 5G networks to support them will drastically boost the development of smart cities, transportation, retail and entertainment by providing seamless computer automation and interfaces via wireless technology. It also will enable such technologies as AI and machine learning, data processing and analytics and virtual reality at the edge and will be crucial in the evolution of such new markets as autonomous vehicles.TAGS: 

Jeff Sharpe

Jeff Sharpe, Director of Embedded 5G/IoT Edge Solutions at Supermicro is focused on customer and market delivery of platforms and solutions to key IoT and Telecom markets. Jeff’s 37 years in the industry has focused on delivering best-in-breed networking, communications and IoT solutions while building product evolution strategies with customers and the industry. Prior to Supermicro, Jeff was with Adlink, Radisys & Nortel Networks.

GI Partners logo

GI Partners Raises $1.8 Billion to Invest in Digital Infrastructure

Source: Datacenter Frontier

One of the most experienced investors in the data center sector has raised a large fund and is ready to go shopping. GI Partners today said it has lined up $1.8 billion in investor backing for its Data Infrastructure Fund.

In a sign of the huge investor interest in digital infrastructure, the fund was initially targeted to raise $1.25 billion, but was expanded after it was initially oversubscribed. The fund closed today, but has already made several investments.

GI becomes the latest large investor to create an investment vehicle to purchase data centers and other digital infrastructure. Digital Colony (part of Colony Capital) raised a multi-billion fund last year, while KKR is putting 1 billion behind Global Technical Realty to invest in European data centers, and Stonepeak Infrastructure last week announced the creation of Digital Edge to invest $1 billion in digital infrastructure across the Asia-Pacific region.

Smart Money with a Data Center Pedigree

GI Partners is a veteran player in the sector, operating 27 data centers as well as colocation provider Flexential, which targets second-tier markets. It is perhaps best known for its sponsorship of Digital Realty Trust, which was created using data center assets that GI Partners at a deep discount during the “dot-com bust” in the early 2000s. GI Partners also has a lengthy list of private equity investments wioth successful exits, including The Telx Group, The Planet, SoftLayer Technologies, ViaWest, and Wave Broadband.

The GI Data Infrastructure Fund will target its investments in four digital infrastructure sub-sectors: data centers, data transport, wireless access, and “tech-enabled infrastructure,” primarily in North America. The is led by former Equinix CEO Steve Smith and Mark Prybutok, an experienced data infrastructure investor.

“Since founding Digital Realty in 2001, GI Partners has always believed in the fundamentals that drive the digital economy, which is now essential to our daily lives,” said Rick Magnuson, Founder and Executive Managing Director of GI Partners. “We are delighted to have a dedicated fund and experienced team led by Mark and Steve, which will build on and strengthen our long-standing position in the data infrastructure space.”

Looking at the Edge Opportunity

The fund will target growth opportunities in edge computing. “A core thesis of our Fund is to invest in elements of infrastructure closer to the end-user that will support both existing needs, as well as the next generation of critical applications utilizing 5G technology, private networks, the Internet of Things, machine learning, and other innovations,” said Prybutok.

Smith spoke about the fund’s goals during a panel at the PTC 2020 conference in Hawaii in January.

“We’re headed toward more distributed computing,” said Smith. “I think we’re at the start of seeing more compute and storage being deployed into secondary and regional markets. They need broadband and data center capacity, and I think there will be a lot more capacity pushed out to these communities. I think this is going to bring a lot of opportunities.”

In a press release announcing the fund, Smith noted how the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened awareness of digital infrastructure. “Technology and communications are the largest and fastest growing drivers of the global economy and the infrastructure that supports these sectors is critical to the operation of every business, government, and household in the developed world,” said Smith. “The disruption we have all experienced in 2020 due to the global pandemic has only served to underline the importance of data infrastructure to everyone’s life.”

GI Data Infrastructure’s diverse global investor base representing 11 countries includes sovereign wealth funds, pensions, financial institutions, investment management firms, foundations, and family offices. The fund was activated in January 2020 when it invested in DR Fortress, the premier data center business in Hawaii. In June 2020, the fund acquired Blue Stream Fiber, a high-speed broadband provider in Florida.

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners logo

GIC, Brookfield Team Up For India Cell Tower Mega Buy

Source: Investable Universe

GIC, the Singapore wealth fund with more than $100 billion in sovereign assets under management invested across 40 countries, announced on Tuesday that it has teamed up with Canadian global alternative assets giant Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP and other co-investors to acquire 100% ownership of the Indian telecom tower assets currently held by Reliance Jio, a subsidiary of Indian multinational conglomerate Reliance Industries.

Total equity commitment for the transaction is $3.4 billion, making it the largest-ever private equity deal in India, and making Brookfield the country’s largest private investor—a distinction previously held by Blackstone Group.

The portfolio includes around 130,000 recently constructed cell towers, all strategically located to provide cellular network coverage across India. Another 45,000 towers are planned for construction and are included in the deal portfolio. Jio will remain anchor tenant of the tower portfolio under a 30-year Master Services Agreement.

In making the acquisition public today, GIC Chief Investment Officer of Infrastructure Ang Eng Seng said, “GIC is pleased to invest alongside Brookfield Infrastructure and the other co-investors in this large, high-quality portfolio of telecom tower assets. The portfolio offers resilient income and long-term value given India’s attractive data demand growth outlook as 4G and smartphone penetration is still very low. While we remain cautious in this period of high uncertainty, we continue to seek good, long-term opportunities in India.”

CTI Towers logo

CTI Towers Sells 1,150 Tower Portfolio to Melody Investments

Source: Inside Towers

Melody Investment Advisors, an alternative asset manager focused on mission-critical communications infrastructure, yesterday announced the entry into a definitive agreement to acquire CTI Towers. CTI has been majority owned by Comcast Ventures, Comcast Corporation’s venture investment arm.

“It is very exciting to be working with Melody,” Tony Peduto, CTI’s CEO told Inside Towers. “I have known John Apostolides for 12 years and look forward to growing the company with him, Omar Jaffrey and their team. It was a great ten year run with Dave Zilberman and Comcast Ventures. Dave has been first-class since the day we met,” Peduto said. “Our employees are excited to continue operating and contributing to the vital industry of which we are a part.”

CTI Towers, based in Cary, NC, owns and manages approximately 1,150 towers in 47 states. The management team of CTI Towers will continue to operate and manage the company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close later in 2020, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.  

“We are excited about the addition of CTI Towers to our rapidly growing portfolio of communications infrastructure assets and pleased about the expanded capabilities we are now able to bring to our carrier partners which will include CTI Towers’ assets and unique capabilities in the cable tower ecosystem,” said Omar Jaffrey, Managing Partner and Founder of Melody Investment Advisors. “Melody’s portfolio companies are well positioned with a growing number of services and offerings for their customers. The CTI Towers team is top notch and we are looking forward to working with them.”

“CTI Towers is our second significant acquisition in the past three months. We are excited about our growing platform and the unique solutions we are able to provide to carriers,” said Chester Dawes, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Melody Investment Advisors. “As we look ahead, Melody is in a strong position to both execute on further acquisitions, as well as to expand on our tower construction and innovative financing solutions capabilities.”

“CEO Tony Peduto and the CTI Towers team have demonstrated grit, ambition and resilience as we started on our partnership ten years ago incubating CTI Towers then scaling CTI Towers to where it is today,” said David Zilberman, Managing Director of Comcast Ventures. “I look forward to seeing the team’s continued success as they move forward into the next phase of growth with Melody.”

The acquisition of CTI Towers follows Melody Investment Advisors’ previously announced acquisition in May of Uniti Towers, the wireless tower business of real estate investment trust Uniti Group Inc. (NASDAQ: UNIT).