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BAI Communications buys Mobilitie

BAI Communications, which is majority-owned by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), has agreed to acquire privately held U.S.-based network infrastructure company Mobilitie, saying that the purchase “represents a major expansion” of its business in North America.

The acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, “significantly extends BAI’s footprint coast-to-coast across one of the world’s fastest growing connected infrastructure markets,” BAI said, and is “a significant step in BAI Communications’ growth strategy, supporting its move towards becoming one of the leading connected infrastructure 5G players in North America, as well as globally.”

BAI operates neutral-host networks in Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, the United Kingdom and the U.S., where it is the majority owner of Transit Wireless, which serves the New York City subway system with wireless connectivity. The company also serves the subway systems in Toronto and Hong Kong, and just last week, BAI was also awarded a 20-year concession by Transport for London to provide high-speed mobile communications across the London Underground.

Mobilitie’s portfolio includes existing agreements to provide wireless communications to the public transit systems in Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area, BAI noted in its announcement on the acquisition. The acquisition, it said, will add Mobilitie’s portfolio to BAI’s operations: 220 venues across 39 U.S. states; 10,000 small cells across 45 states; and 300 tower sites across 14 states.

Terms of the Mobilitie deal were not disclosed. Bloomberg had reported in early June that CPPI was close to a deal to acquire Mobilitie. According to that report, the potential transaction was expected to value Mobilitie at more than $1.3 billion.

“BAI’s acquisition of Mobilitie establishes us as a leading telecommunications infrastructure provider in the United States and the most relevant provider of public transit wireless connectivity solutions in North America. This reflects our ambitions for the U.S. as well as the other markets in which we operate globally and puts us in the perfect position to capitalize on the growing prioritization of connected infrastructure in regions such as the U.K. and Europe,” said Igor Leprince, group CEO of BAI Communications, in a statement. “The scale and strong relationships with large venue operators and mobile network operators that Mobilitie brings fits perfectly with BAI’s existing leadership in connected transit and infrastructure. … This alignment and the complementary fit of our offerings make this an exciting move for BAI and our customers around the world. It strongly positions us to scale and extend the work we are already delivering,” he added.

Max Baigosch, CPP Investments’ head of portfolio value creation and non-executive director on the BAI Communications board of directors, said that the acquisition of Mobilitie “is an exciting and dynamic move for the BAI business and represents an attractive opportunity for CPP Investments to increase its financial commitments and generate long-term sustainable returns for our contributors and beneficiaries. It is a true enhancement of our broader portfolio, extending our investment in digital infrastructure which is critical to people and communities around the world as our lives become increasingly dependent on connectivity.”

“We’re very excited about this transaction, which augments Mobilitie’s market impact worldwide. BAI’s significance as a 5G player, together with Mobilitie, will enable unprecedented support of U.S. wireless carriers,” said Gary Jabara, founder and chairman of Mobilitie. “It puts us on a clear, long-term path to greatly accelerate business and help our customers, especially the mobile network operators. “Combining BAI’s connectivity solutions and international presence with Mobilitie’s North American assets, including our nationwide footprint of tier one venues, public transit systems in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle, along with 10,000 small cells and thousands of New York small cells that are in and around BAI’s existing assets, makes us better positioned for 5G growth than anyone else in North America.”


Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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