Bluebird Network, LLC, (“Bluebird” or the “Company”) a Midwest telecommunications company, recently announced that they are being acquired by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners (“MIP”) for an undisclosed amount. MIP, a long-term infrastructure investment fund managed by the Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (“MIRA”) division of Macquarie Group, partnered with Uniti Group Inc. (NASDAQ: UNIT) (“Uniti”) to finance the transaction. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary terms and conditions, and is expected to be closed by the end of the third quarter 2019.
The transaction will involve Uniti acquiring Bluebird’s fiber network, which will then be leased back to Bluebird under a long-term lease. Bluebird will be acquiring Uniti’s Midwestern fiber business, receiving a long-term lease that consists of 2,500 miles of network located predominantly in Illinois. Once these transactions are completed, both networks will be combined and operated as one company under the Bluebird name. The Company will be operated by the existing Bluebird management team and employee-base headquartered in Columbia, MO, led by Chief Executive Officer, Michael Morey.
“We are very pleased to partner with Bluebird’s experienced management team as MIP expands its portfolio of investments in communications infrastructure,” said Karl Kuchel, CEO of MIP. “As bandwidth needs continue to increase, fiber has become the essential backbone for high-performance connectivity networks. We look forward to working with the Bluebird team to grow the platform in the years ahead.”
Bluebird provides high bandwidth network solutions throughout rural and urban areas in the Midwest, with a focus on connecting rural areas to major cities. The company provisions enterprise and carrier customers with a wide variety of network services, including secure and reliable bandwidth, Metro Ethernet, Wide Area Network Ethernet, Dedicated Internet Access, E-Line Services, Ethernet Virtual Private LAN Service (E-LAN) and Mobile Backhaul Transport services. Bluebird’s fiber optic infrastructure also connects to the Bluebird Underground Data Center, an underground colocation facility located in Springfield, Missouri.
This investment by MIP and the addition of the Midwestern network presents an exciting opportunity for Bluebird, as it uniquely positions the company as a scaled strategic network and data center provider in the Midwest. Leveraging the existing Bluebird team and an expanded network and customer set, the company will be strategically placed to serve wholesale and enterprise customers and grow their platform throughout the Midwest and beyond.