Crown buys DAS specialist NextG for $1 billion

19 December 2011 | Guy Matthews

Crown Castle International has said it will acquire NextG Networks for approximately $1 billion in cash.

NextG is a provider of outdoor distributed antenna systems (DAS), and has over 7,000 DAS nodes operational, and a further 1,500 under construction. DAS works as a network of antennas connected by fibre to a communications hub, designed to facilitate wireless communications services for multiple operators. In addition to its DAS assets, NextG has rights to over 4,600 miles of fibre across the US.

Crown Castle said the acquisition will allow it to offer added wireless coverage and capacity to operator customers outside of areas traditionally served by towers. It said it expects to fund the acquisition with debt financing, and hopes to close the deal in the second quarter of 2012.

"Increasingly, we believe that small-cell architecture, such as DAS, will be an important complement to traditional macro tower installations," said Ben Moreland, Crown Castle's president and chief executive officer. "Our anticipated acquisition of NextG furthers our ability to extend wireless infrastructure beyond those areas traditionally served by towers, thereby broadening our service offering in this growing market and positioning us to benefit from the continued demand for wireless data."

"Our agreement is testament to the increasingly critical role small-cell solutions, including DAS, have played and will play in the future to ensure reliable and comprehensive wireless infrastructure," said Steven Moskowitz, NextG's CEO.

He said over 90% of NextG nodes are in urban and suburban locations, with 80% in the top 10 US metropolitan areas, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas Fort Worth. The acquisition would make Crown Castle the largest independent DAS operator in the US, with approximately 10,000 nodes and 26 venues in operation or under construction.