24 April 2018
| James Pearce
UK-based telecoms firm CityFibre is the subject of a £538 million takeover bid from a consortium of infrastructure funds backed by Goldman Sachs.
The bid was made by Antin Infrastructure Fund and West
Street Infrastructure Funds and has already been accepted by
two-thirds of CityFibre shareholders.
The company, which offers local wholesale fibre, has
recommended the offer to shareholders, saying it will help the
firm achieve its ambition of deploying full-fibre to 20% of the
UK population and offer an alternative to BT’s
"Under private ownership, CityFibre will be able to gain
alternative and potentially easier access to the financing
required for its announced FTTH (fibre-to-the-home)
deployment," said Chris Stone, chairman of CityFibre.
CityFibre was listed in 2014 and signed a partnership last
year with Vodafone which sees the mobile operator offer its
ultrafast broadband services across 12 UK towns and cities.
Invesco Perpetual, which holds a 20.1% stake in the company,
Woodford (19.1%) and Jupiter (7.5%) have all agreed to sell to
the consortium. It is the second time Woodford has offloaded
its stake in a UK altnet in the last few months, after
Infracapital, the infrastructure arm of M&G Prudential,
bought rural fibre provider
It comes as Vodafone and CityFibre announced an expansion of
its full-fibre service to four more cities across England
and Scotland, adding Coventry, Edinburgh, Huddersfield and
Stirling to its Gigafast broadband programme.
The ultrafast service is already being rolled out in
Milton Keynes and Peterborough, with Cityfibre already
committing up to £315 million to bring full-fibre to at
least one million homes and small businesses.
"Behind each city project announced today lie concrete
plans, advanced network designs, and the resources to mobilise
construction," said CityFibre’s Mesch.
"We also have a significant head-start, harnessing our
existing, extensive duct infrastructure that is tailor-made for
city-wide FTTP expansion."
"I’m delighted to welcome everyone living in
Coventry, Edinburgh, Huddersfield and Stirling to the
full-fibre club, with a broadband service like no other," said
Vodafone UK chief executive Nick Jeffery. "After five months,
we are well on track with the joint Gigafast broadband
programme that will help position the UK as a world-leading
Antin Infrastructure Fund,
West Street Infrastructure Funds,