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Spanish fibre operator tops $2.85bn in value amid PE investment

International investor has a track record of capital commitments across Europe’s digital infrastructure sphere, including France, the Netherlands and Spain.

By João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

3 Mins

January 17, 2022 | 3:54 AM GMT

Spanish fibre operator tops $2.85bn in value amid PE investment

Jorge Quemada, Partner at Cinven. Source: Cinven

International private equity firm Cinven said the Seventh Cinven Fund has agreed to make a majority investment in Ufinet International, a fibre network operator headquartered in Spain and operating in Latin America, for an enterprise value of approximately €2.5 billion (US$2.85 billion).

Enel, that has been a minority co-shareholder in Ufinet since 2018, will re-invest a minority stake in the group.

Ufinet leases optical fibre infrastructure (‘dark fibre’ services) and provides transmission services (‘lit fibre’) which together comprise c. 90% of revenues.

The business also provides other telecom infrastructure like Fibre to the Home (‘FTTH’) or small cells and associated value-added services.

Ufinet operates across 17 countries and more than 2,000 cities in Latin America including in Colombia, Panama, Guatemala and Costa Rica, providing fibre infrastructure and transmission services to telecom operators.

The provider was established as an independent business in June 2014, following its demerger from Gas Natural Fenosa, the Spanish utility provider, and today employs c.1,400 people across Spain and Latin America.

Jorge Quemada, Partner at Cinven, said:“Ufinet has significant long term strategic ambitions to expand and further internationalise its business, given the strong market dynamics driving the increased use of fibre. Cinven has successfully invested in Ufinet before – as well as in telecom providers in other markets, including Ziggo, Numéricable and MasMovil in the Netherlands, France and Spain, respectively.

“The Cinven team understands the telecom industry extremely well and, combined with the regional expertise of the Cinven Iberia team, continues to see compelling growth opportunities for Ufinet through a combination of market expansion, organic growth and further buy and build.

Also commenting, Iñigo Garcia del Cerro Prieto, CEO of Ufinet, added: “We have had the privilege of working alongside Cinven and Enel since 2014 and 2018 respectively. With the renewal of their partnership, Ufinet strengthens its commitment to grow and expand the business, capitalising on the experience and scale of its shareholders to consolidate and increase its presence in the markets where it operates.

“The transaction reinforces Ufinet’s long-term vision, enabling the Company to expand its footprint and become the largest neutral operator of telecommunications infrastructure in Latin America.”

Cinven’s previous investments in telecoms have included Ziggo, a cable operator in the Netherlands; Numéricable, a French cable operator; and MasMovil, one of the largest telecoms operators in Spain which acquired Euskaltel in 2021.

Advisers to Cinven on the transaction included Natixis (M&A), Deloitte (tax), Altman Solon (commercial due diligence), KPMG (financial due diligence) and Freshfields (legal).

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João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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