FirstLight Fiber and Oxford Networks combine operations

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FirstLight Fiber and Oxford Networks combine operations

Wed, 01/04/2017 - 11:33am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The consolidation of regional telecoms has completed another transaction. FirstLight Fiber, a leading fiber-optic bandwidth infrastructure services provider based in Albany, New York, and operating in Vermont and across Northern New England, announced today that Oak Hill Capital Partners has completed its acquisition of Oxford Networks, and has combined the operations of Oxford with FirstLight. Oak Hill acquired Sovernet, based in Bellows Falls, last August, and then in September bought FirstLight and combined it with Sovernet. FirstLight now operates a network consisting of 415,000 fiber miles.

Oxford Networks isa fiber optic service provider operating in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. As previously reported, Novacap, Bank Street Capital Partners and Riverside Partners will continue as minority investors in the combined company. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

FirstLight now operates a 5,000 route mile, high-capacity, fiber optic network spanning five states with 4,400 locations in service and ten data centers, many of which are SOC 2 (Service Organization Control) compliant and offer Cloud and Managed services.

“The acquisition of Oxford more than doubles the size of our business, dramatically increases our scale and network reach, and better positions FirstLight to continue meeting the growing bandwidth infrastructure needs of our customers.  FirstLight and Oxford are highly complementary in terms of fiber footprint, service set, customer base, employee expertise and mission, which will ease integration efforts. We expect this to be a seamless transaction for our customers and significantly enhance our operating platform as we continue to grow the business,” commented Kurt Van Wagenen, President and CEO of FirstLight.   

“Serving our customers has always been our main priority, and we are confident that combined with FirstLight, we are better positioned to continue to do so,” added Craig Gunderson, President and CEO of Oxford. “We look forward to working together to realize the promise that this combination creates,” concluded Gunderson.

Scott Baker and Benjy Diesbach, Partners at Oak Hill and members of the FirstLight Board of Directors, added, “Closing the acquisition of Oxford is an important milestone for both FirstLight and Oak Hill.  This transaction represents an exciting next step in our plan to create the leading fiber provider in the Northeastern U.S.  The combined company, along with the previously announced acquisition of Sovernet Communications (“Sovernet”), will form an entity that has an exceptional foundation to serve the needs of both regional enterprises and communications carriers.”

The Sovernet transaction is expected to close early in 2017, following the satisfaction of customary regulatory approvals, and will further increase the size and geographic footprint of FirstLight.  Once complete, FirstLight will operate a network spanning 9,500 route miles in five states and Canada, more than 5,000 on-net locations, and 11 data centers with 128,000 square feet of space.

MVP Capital LLC served as Oxford’s exclusive financial advisor in connection with this transaction, and Citizens Capital Markets, Inc. served as financial advisor to Oak Hill. Paul Hastings LLP served as legal counsel to Oxford, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal counsel to Oak Hill. TD Securities (USA) LLC served as Sole Bookrunner and Joint Lead Arranger with Citizens Bank, N.A., Pacific Western Bank and Webster Bank, N.A. for the senior secured credit facilities.

FirstLight Fiber

FirstLight Fiber, headquartered in Albany, New York, provides fiber-optic data, Internet, data center and voice services to enterprise and carrier customers throughout the Northeast connecting more than 4,400 locations in service with an additional 27,000 locations serviceable by our 415,000 fiber mile network. FirstLight offers a robust suite of advanced telecommunications products featuring a comprehensive portfolio of high bandwidth connectivity solutions including Ethernet, wavelength and dark fiber services as well as dedicated Internet access solutions, data center, cloud and voice services. FirstLight’s clientele includes national cellular providers and wireline carriers and many leading enterprises, spanning high tech manufacturing and research, hospitals and healthcare, banking and financial, secondary education, colleges and universities, and local and state governments.

Source: Albany, NY – January 4, 2017 – www.firstlight.net