US infrastructure firm Uniti has agreed to sell a portion of Uniti Fiber’s Northeast operations to B2B fibre player Everstream, which is owned by Australian firm AMP Capital. Concurrently, Uniti will enter into two 20-year indefeasible right of use (IRU) lease agreements with Everstream on Uniti-owned fibre that spans eight states and covers over 10,000 route miles and 220,000 fibre strand miles. The infrastructure in question was acquired as part of Uniti’s settlement with Windstream earlier this year (see below). The total cash consideration to be paid to Uniti (including upfront IRU payments) is approximately USD135 million. The transaction is subject to regulatory and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in 2Q21.
For its part, Everstream has clarified that the agreement allows it to extend its fibre network into Pennsylvania and acquire existing Uniti customers. Two major metro markets – Pittsburgh and Philadelphia – are part of the transaction and will be connected to Everstream’s networks in other cities across the Midwest, including Chicago. Both metro fibre and long-haul fibre are included in the agreement.
TeleGeography notes that Windstream’s Chapter 11 plan of reorganisation was approved by the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in June this year. In July Uniti received the true lease and real estate investment trust (REIT) opinions in connection with the settlement. The acquired infrastructure spans 31,000 fibre route miles across 35 states. On 1 July 2020, Uniti completed the sale of a controlling ownership stake in the entity that holds certain former Uniti Midwest fibre network assets to Macquarie Infrastructure Partners (MIP) for USD168 million.