Global fibre provider Zayo Group is considering a dual takeover of infrastructure firm Uniti Group and its main client, US ISP Windstream. According to the Wall Street Journal, talks with Uniti started in June, when the parties discussed a price of around USD15 a share, but the two parties have recently stalled over a price. A USD15 per share deal would value Uniti at USD3.5 billion, but the company is understood to be carrying around USD5 billion of debt. Windstream, meanwhile, is said to be USD2 billion in debt.
Uniti bills itself ‘an internally managed real estate investment trust [which] is engaged in the acquisition and construction of mission critical communications infrastructure’. The company – initially known as Communications Sales & Leasing (CS&L) – was spun off from Windstream back in 2015, as the telco sought to accelerate network investments, significantly reduce debt and maximise shareholder value. CS&L was renamed as Uniti Group in 2017. Windstream, however, continues to make payments for network access and only exited bankruptcy protection in September 2020 after it and Uniti agreed to settle ongoing litigation in March 2020.