3i stake values Wireless Infrastructure at £300m

Bellshill-based Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG ) has announced a £75 million investment from 3i Infrastructure that values WIG at £300 million.

WIG builds and operates communication towers and other wireless infrastructure to enable connection between networks and communities.

The deal means 3i Infrastructure acquires a minority stake in WIG, joining Wood Creek Capital Management and the management team as shareholders.

The investment is part of a strategy to substantially scale up WIG.

Completion of the transaction is conditional upon receiving clearance from the European Commission under EU merger regulations which is anticipated by the end of June 2016.

“Bringing an established European infrastructure investor on board alongside our existing North American partner provides us with the financial capabilities needed to scale up our business through investment in up to £1 billion of new infrastructure,” said Scott Coates, CEO of WIG.

“This will transform our ability to support our customers as they extend network coverage in rural areas and improve capacity in urban centres.

“3i Infrastructure will provide us with additional long term capital and a partner to enable us to scale up our UK infrastructure footprint and also expand our presence in Western Europe.

“Independent infrastructure companies like WIG provide a conduit for long term infrastructure investors to support the telecoms industry as it takes on the challenges of expanding the quality and reach of connectivity.

“The case for independent ownership of upstream broadband infrastructure such as masts and fibre is an increasingly compelling one.

“In the mobile sector, independently operated infrastructure enables better connectivity, attracts new sources of investment and promotes infrastructure competition in a consolidating telecoms market.”

Ben Loomes, managing partner and co-head of infrastructure at 3i Investments, said: “We have been impressed by the company’s focus on high quality shared infrastructure and its experienced management team.

“We look forward to supporting the company’s plans to expand its infrastructure base both here in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.”

Matt Sandoval, managing director of Wood Creek Capital Management, said: “WIG is a unique platform in the European independent tower sector.

“We look forward to working alongside management and 3i Infrastructure to continue our support of the company as it builds new infrastructure and plays a leading role in sector M&A across Europe.

“We are delighted with the momentum at WIG and with our new partnership with 3i Infrastructure.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.