Proving there is life after GTP, Dagan Kasavana, who ran the mergers and acquisitions department for Global Tower Partners, has started his own venture, focusing on acquiring, developing, owning, leasing and operating cell towers in Latin America. The company, known as Phoenix Tower International, was formed to focus on middle market transactions.
Of the major markets in Latin America, Phoenix Tower will be looking for opportunities in stable countries that already have public and private tower companies.
“There are key markets in Central and South America that are good for tower ownership,” Kasavana said. “Brazil is an interesting market,where wireless growth and penetration are projected to be fueled over the next three to five years, but so are Columbia, Panama and Costa Rica.
“Growth is projected throughout the region, and we have the ability to capture some of the upside, which is similar to what we have seen in the United States in the last three to five years,” he added.
Since Global Tower Partners sold its portfolio, Kasavana has considered opportunities running M&A programs for various tower companies as well as going it on his own. “I talked with investors who supported this concept for a new tower company that is focused on select opportunities [in Latin America] that others are not,” he said.
In forming Phoenix, Kasavana has brought in several colleagues from his days at GTP. Former GTP Senior Legal Advisor Tim Culver has joined Phoenix in a similar position. Natalya Kashirina, who worked with Kasavana in GTP’s M&A department, is now Phoenix vice president, mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, Orlando Porras, formerly of Ernst and Young, who did many projects for GTP, is now chief financial officer for Phoenix.
Kasavana plans to deal with the cultural challenges of Latin America by using a personal touch. Phoenix will remain based in Boca Raton, Fla., but will build offices in a region as it gains significant market share there. “We are well suited to address these challenges because we don’t see these as satellite offices leveraging off of the U.S. presence. We are going to build them from the ground up, leveraging the local people, the local customers and local operations. And I will be on a plane regularly to meet with them personally,” he said.
A variety of equity investors are involved in Phoenix, which will be formally announced in the near future. The company has a number of transactions in the works and is working to close them.
“At GTP, we had a great run, and it is really fun to see [the former GTP partners] all blossom into new business lines to do new things after the sale,” Kasavana said. “Obviously, we learned a lot of that from Marc Ganzi [former CEO of GTP]. I owe him a lot of credit for instilling the entrepreneurial spirit within me. It is something I take with me going forward.”