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Lightower Buys Open Access, Strengthens New York-Area Reach

Lightower Fiber Networks, which just closed its Lexent Metro Connect merger, is snapping up another operator.

The Massachusetts-based company plans to buy Open Access Inc. to strengthen its reach throughout Long Island and the greater New York City area. Open Access has last-mile connections to more than 230 commercial buildings and data centers good news for Lightowers agents and resellers.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Lightower hopes to close the acquisition in 2011s first quarter. When that happens, Lightower will add New York density to its more than 5,500 fiber route miles and access to more than 2,100 commercial buildings, data centers, telco hotels and other interconnection facilities.

The Lightower announcement is the latest in a string of fiber M&A fueled not just by the need for more bandwidth, but concerns over anticipated tax changes for 2011. Private equity firms such as M/C Venture Partners, Pamlico Capital and Ridgemont Equity Partners, the funds that own Lightower fear theyll take a hit if Congress raises the carried-interest tax rate. Because of that possibility, and the ever-climbing demand for fiber networking, private financiers have been pushing mid-market consolidation all during 2010. 

A sampling of fiber transactions so far this year includes PAETEC-Cavalier, Windstream-KDL-Norlight, Zayo-American Fiber Systems, Sidera-Long Island Fiber, and, of course, Lightower-Lexent.


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