Private equity firm KKR said it invested in wireless infrastructure businesses managed by Associated Partners, another private equity shop. The deal further enmeshes KKR in the wireless market.
The size of the investment was not disclosed, but the Wall Street Journal reported that it was $100 million, according to unnamed sources familiar with the situation. KKR said it made minority investments in PEG Bandwidth, AP Wireless and AP Towers.
Associated Partners specializes in investments in infrastructure, telecommunications, Internet, media, towers for wireless services and related technologies, notes Bloomberg. Associated Partners' managers, the brothers David and Bill Berkman, are part of a Pittsburgh family that made a fortune in communications, as the Journal notes, and wound up selling off some of the first cellular networks. Associated Partners has around 20 teams across the country working on rewiring rural cell sites with LTE antennas and gear on behalf of major carriers such as Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), according to the Journal.
PEG Bandwidth designs, builds and operates wireless Ethernet backhaul networks, primarily in rural areas. In august, the company said it gained 1,100 fiber route miles in two states via the acquisition of Contact Network, which does business as InLine. AP Wireless acquires interests in cell site ground and rooftop leases in the U.S. market and internationally. AP Towers develops new wireless towers and purchases selected towers currently in operation.
KKR said the transaction represents its eleventh infrastructure investment overall and fifth in North America since 2010. KKR in the past had reportedly considered buying a stake in what is now Nokia Solutions and Networks, but ultimately declined to do so.
- see this release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
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