Ajit Pai joins private investor with stakes in Liberty Latam

Ajit Pai joins private investor with stakes in Liberty Latam and Rackspace

27 April 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Cover

The private-equity shareholder in companies such as Bezeq, Liberty Latin America, Mitel and Rackspace has hired Ajit Pai as a partner.

Searchlight Capital Partners said Pai (pictured), former chairman of the US telecoms regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), would be a prospective board member of a number of Searchlight’s existing investments in the sector.

Eric Zinterhofer, a founding partner of Searchlight, said: “Given our strong presence in this space and Ajit’s distinguished career in the industry, we are excited to welcome him as our newest partner. His outstanding accomplishments at the FCC had a material impact on the broadband, wireless, and broadcast sectors, and his deep knowledge will be invaluable in accelerating our efforts in TMT and digital infrastructure.”

Pai was a commissioner in the FCC from 2012 and chaired it through Donald Trump’s presidency, leaving on the day Joe Biden took over in January.

He said he wanted to “help build on the firm’s demonstrated success in the technology media, and telecommunications sectors, especially with respect to digital infrastructure”.

Pai added: “Searchlight’s flexible investment strategy and partnership-driven approach have distinguished it from its peers, allowing the firm to capitalise on opportunities that provide value for its clients and the companies it invests in.”

Searchlight has over US$8 billion in assets under management and has offices in New York, London and Toronto. Two years ago it worked with WaveDivision Capital (WDC) to buy assets from troubled Frontier Communications in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana for US$1.3 billion.  Frontier is about to emerge from bankruptcy with a new management team. 

Other investments that Searchlight has include Consolidated Communications, a US broadband provider, Eolo, an Italian fixed wireless access broadband provider, Hemisphere Media, a Spanish-language cable and TV operator in the US, Puerto Rico and Latin America, Uniti, a real-estate investment trust (REIT) and Ziply Fiber, a fibre operator in the north-west US.

For some reason it also owns a stake in UK-based wellington boot company Hunter Boots.