ALBANY, N.Y. (September 15, 2020) – FirstLight, a leading provider of fiber-optic data, Internet, data center, cloud and voice services to enterprise and carrier customers throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets, including the fiber network and related customer contracts, of the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER). FirstLight looks forward to seamlessly providing critical communications services to KINBER’s customers. Additionally, post transaction, FirstLight will support KINBER’s networking needs.
When the transaction with FirstLight is complete, KINBER will be continuing its work providing research and education connectivity, investing in underserved and unserved communities, and positioning Pennsylvania to be a leader in broadband and broadband technology.
“Over the past 10 years, KINBER has become the premier research and education fiber network that delivers connectivity to underserved and unserved areas of Pennsylvania,” said KINBER President and CEO Nathan Flood. “Through our 1,800-route mile network across 47 counties, KINBER has been able to provide the critical infrastructure to research, education and community institutions. As we look toward the next chapter, we’re excited to see the expansion and growth opportunities that FirstLight will create.”
Kurt Van Wagenen, President and CEO of FirstLight Fiber, stated, “Acquiring the KINBER network is very exciting for FirstLight. It builds upon our recent expansion in the eastern part of the state and will enable us to offer fiber-based broadband services to more organizations throughout the commonwealth. We are impressed with what KINBER has been able to accomplish since its inception and hope to build upon its achievements by continuing to ensure that more areas in Pennsylvania have the broadband connectivity needed to thrive in the digital age.”
Founded in 1999, FirstLight has been building and operating its own fiber-optic network for more than 20 years. With an expert team, FirstLight serves the networking needs of national telecommunications providers, CLECs and leading enterprises, including healthcare organizations, high-tech manufacturing and research facilities, financial institutions, colleges and universities, K-12 schools, public safety agencies, and local and state governments.
“KINBER’s fiber network throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its clientele are a perfect complement to our network and customer base,” said Patrick Coughlin, Chief Business Development Officer for FirstLight Fiber. “We are honored to serve some of the most renowned educational and health care institutions in the Northeast, and we are confident that we can support the organizations currently leveraging KINBER’s network.”
KINBER Board Chair Kenneth Blackney said, “The KINBER Board of Directors unanimously agrees that this asset sale is the right strategic direction for KINBER and will better enable the organization to focus on its core mission of providing research and education networking capacity and support in Pennsylvania, while working to promote broadband adoption in critical unserved and underserved areas. These needs have always been central to the KINBER mission and are more urgent today than ever before.”
“This is an exciting development for FirstLight, that will further propel the Company’s growth. Since acquiring FirstLight two years ago, we have worked closely with the management team to enhance the Company’s capabilities both organically and strategically to the benefit of its customers, the community and its stakeholders. This acquisition is highly complementary to our recently built Eastern Pennsylvania network, that was funded during Antin Infrastructure Partners’ ownership, and is expected to have a dramatic, positive impact on FirstLight by adding 1,800 route miles of fiber to its expansive fiber network allowing tens of thousands more businesses to benefit from FirstLight’s comprehensive set of services,” said Kevin Genieser, Senior Partner at Antin Infrastructure Partners and member of FirstLight’s Board of Directors.
RBC Capital Markets LLC served as financial advisor to KINBER in connection with this transaction. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP served as legal counsel to FirstLight. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020, following the satisfaction of regulatory approvals. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.