TowerCo—a wireless infrastructure builder, manager and owner—has partnered with Midco, a fiber-focused company that provides backhaul to carriers, to expand broadband infrastructure in rural areas of the Great Plains states.
TowerCo will market and manage the Midco tower portfolio to enable communities in Great Plains states to expand wireless broadband infrastructure throughout the region. The Midco portfolio consists of over 80 sites in the Great Plains states, including Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
TowerCo owns, builds and manages a portfolio of communication towers and properties for colocation, including over 6000 land and rooftop assets and over 1300 owned and managed towers. The company has extensive experience working with wireless carriers, state agencies, municipalities, schools and private landowners.
“We’re pleased TowerCo is marketing the Midco portfolio of towers. We have high expectations for the partnership as we know the importance of providing space for broadband to serve rural America,” said Dave Giles, Midco’s general manager of fixed wireless.
Todd Boyer, CEO of TowerCo, said “The TowerCo team is excited to work in close partnership with Midco to market their growing portfolio of tower assets. We strive to enable faster expansion of broadband into rural areas through our predictable, flexible and expeditious colocation process. We’re committed to helping these communities expand their broadband and connect to what’s important to them through the Midco portfolio of towers and properties, all while helping carriers gain access to quick turnaround colocations.”
To search the Midco portfolio click here. A provider of reliable, high-speed internet via fiber and fixed wireless technology, Midco says by 2025 it will deploy 10G, the next great leap for broadband – while also expanding its fiber network to rural areas. The company also delivers TV services including MidcoSN (a regional sports network), phone, data center and advertising services, plus wholesale networking solutions. Midco fiber serves 460,000 homes and business in 400 communities in Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Founded in 2004, TowerCo has extensive experience working with wireless carriers, state agencies, municipalities, schools and private landowners. Click here to learn more.
Xplornet Communications has closed the acquisition of TowerCo’s tower assets in Manitoba, Canada. According to a statement from the company, with the acquisition of more than 160 wireless communications towers located across rural Manitoba, Xplornet is executing on its infrastructure investment plans to accelerate the deployment of its 5G broadband network and to expand mobility coverage to households and businesses throughout rural Manitoba. Xplornet is a broadband service provider with a rural focus.
“This is a good site acquisition opportunity for Xplornet as we are finalizing agreements with the province of Manitoba to deliver fast and reliable Internet and cellular services to rural Manitoban homes and businesses,” said Allison Lenehan, president and CEO of Xplornet. “This is another exciting step to expand Xplornet’s network infrastructure and presence in rural Manitoba.”
In recent years, Xplornet has focused on building its network in Manitoba, a company statement reads. “With both Xplore Mobile and Xplornet Enterprise Solutions headquartered in Brandon, Manitoba, as well as with the recent acquisition of CCI Wireless and its Manitoba subsidiary WiBand Communications, Xplornet has been executing on its plans to invest in Manitoba with the goal of providing rural Manitobans with improved and reliable Internet and cellular service offering,” the statement said.
Source: Xplornet Communications
TowerCo has formed a partnership created by members of the TowerCo management team and Peppertree Capital Management. As part of the transaction, TowerCo retained all of its assets and Peppertree committed an additional $300 million of equity capital to fund future growth. The transaction represents Peppertree’s 76th investment in the communications infrastructure industry.In connection with the transaction, the majority of the TowerCo management team will remain in place and Todd Boyer will take over as Chief Executive Officer.
Alpina Capital, LLC, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to the TowerCo V management team in this transaction.
May 17, 2016 — TowerCo III has sold 253 towers and 95 other assets to Grain Infrastructure II for $244 million. The towers, half of which were new builds and half aggregated, were spread across nearly all of the company’s 37 states and territories.
The company still has some of the assets that it purchased from Iowa Wireless Services, plus the five-year exclusive build-to-suit agreement. By the time of the sale to Grain, TowerCo had already launched TowerCo IV, which has nearly 200 assets.
“We are by no means out of business,” said Richard Byrne, CEO of TowerCo. “We look forward to the continued growth of TowerCo IV, which is off to a very good start.”
It was the company’s first tower sale since TowerCo II Holdings, which had 3,256 towers, were sold to SBA Communications in 2012 in a transaction valued at just under $1.5 billion.
“When we sold TowerCo II, we knew we weren’t going to be able to get back to that size so we had to downsize,” Byrne said. “TowerCo III eventually got back to the size where we ended TowerCo I with 28 people. Our hope is to keep everyone so we are working hard to quickly grow back into our shoes.”
“I’m happy with our growth in TowerCo IV and that we have assets that we were able to move into TowerCo IV. It takes a lot of the pressure off of starting the business over again,” he added.
Third Portfolio Sale Since 2004
The sale marks the third portfolio of towers and assets sold by TowerCo since it was formed in 2004. Equity investors Tailwind Capital Soros Fund Management have been along for the ride since the beginning and have agreed to back the company for a fourth time.
The decision to put the assets up for sale this Spring was made last Summer, but the timing of the transaction was not the result of any time horizon on the part of TowerCo’s equity investors, according to Byrne.
“We have sold assets every four years. That wasn’t a pre-ordained plan. It is just the way it has worked out,” he said. “[The equity investors] are very supportive. If it makes sense to doing something, they will do it. They have always been there with the capital we need to grow and have never rushed us to make a move we didn’t think made sense.”
Byrne is now in search of opportunities to support current staffing levels. He expects a lot of TowerCo’s growth will come from new builds, but said it won’t shy away from further aggregation.
While it is currently a sellers’ market, Byrne said the economics of cell tower development have changed as the wireless industry has matured. He thought TowerCo III’s time horizon would be much longer, but now he says with a laugh that he expects TowerCo IV to take him into his retirement years.
“I tell my investors, the time horizon is going to be longer and the returns are going to be lower. And they get it,” he said.
Less than three weeks after closing its 3,256 tower sale to SBA Communications, TowerCo is back in the game.
The tower company purchased 119 towers from i Wireless along with a five-year exclusive build-to-suit agreement and the opportunity to acquire future towers i Wireless may bring to market. The transaction is valued at $45.5 million and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Begun in 2004, TowerCo built up a portfolio of 430 towers and sold it to SBA for $193.5 million in 2008. Later that year, TowerCo purchased more than 3,000 towers from Sprint Nextel for $670 million. The tower company built that portfolio up to more than 3,200 towers and sold again to SBA four years later.
“It’s a repeat performance for TowerCo,” R. Clayton Funk, managing director, Media Venture Partners, told AGL Bulletin. “It signals their continue confidence in the tower industry and their ability to grow the company.”
TowerCo’s business model is to purchase carrier-owned and operated towers, which many times have not been managed comprehensively and marketed aggressively to other tenants, according to Funk.
“The strength of TowerCo is its ability to professionally shore up the assets and launch a focused marketing effort,” Funk said.
i wireless, headquartered in Urbandale, Iowa, is a partnership between T-Mobile USA and Iowa Network Services, a privately owned by a group of 127 independent telephone companies that serve 500,000 rural Iowans.
“The TowerCo deal provides i wireless financial flexibility and will support our recently announced Des Moines market expansion and statewide network investment to bring our customers a stronger and faster 4G experience,” i Wireless CEO Craven Shumaker said in a prepared statement.
Richard Byrne, CEO of TowerCo, said he enjoyed his two week vacation.
Kevin Brynestad of Alpina Capital worked as M&A advisor and Ted Olt of Lane & Waterman acted as legal counsel to i Wireless. Bruce Gutenplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison acted as legal counsel to TowerCo.