Macquarie Infrastructure Partners acquires Bluebird Network

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US-Midwest based Bluebird Network is to be acquired by infrastructure investment fund, Macquarie Infrastructure Partners (MIP) for an undisclosed amount.

Bluebird provides high bandwidth network solutions within rural and urban areas throughout the Midwest, focusing on connecting rural areas to major cities. It provides a variety of network services to enterprise and carrier customers and its fibre optic infrastructure connects to the Bluebird Underground Data Center (pictured), an underground colocation facility located in Springfield, Missouri.

Managed by the Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) division of Macquarie Group, MIP partnered with Uniti to finance the transaction. Uniti will acquire Bluebird’s fibre network – which has been undergoing an expansion with the addition of 45 fibre route miles (see Bluebird Network adds 45 fibre route miles in St. Louis metropolitan region) – and then lease it back to Bluebird under a long-term lease. 

As part of the transaction, Bluebird will also acquire Uniti’s Midwestern fibre business and receive a long-term lease over Uniti’s Midwestern fibre network, which consists of approximately 2,500 miles of network predominantly in Illinois. Upon completion of the transactions the two adjacent 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, led by CEO, Michael Morey. 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 of 2019.

Karl Kuchel, CEO of MIP commented on the announcement: ‘We are very pleased to partner with Bluebird’s experienced management team as MIP expands its portfolio of investments in communications infrastructure. As bandwidth needs continue to increase, fibre has become the essential backbone for high-performance connectivity networks. We look forward to working with the Bluebird team to growing the platform in the years ahead.’

Added Morey: ‘The investment by MIP and the addition of the adjacent network uniquely positions Bluebird as a scaled strategic network and data centre provider in the Midwest. With our existing team in place and an expanded network and customer set, Bluebird will be well placed to serve wholesale and enterprise customers, and for platform growth throughout the Midwest and beyond.’

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