SOURCE: FirstLight Fiber

FirstLight Fiber

March 14, 2017 10:00 ET

FirstLight and Sovernet Communications Combine Operations

Combination Enhances FirstLight's Network in New York and New England

ALBANY, NY--(Marketwired - Mar 14, 2017) - FirstLight Fiber ("FirstLight"), a leading fiber-optic bandwidth infrastructure services provider operating in the Northeast, announced today that Oak Hill Capital Partners ("Oak Hill") has completed its acquisition of Sovernet Communications ("Sovernet") and has combined the operations of Sovernet with FirstLight.

This acquisition combines Sovernet's high-capacity network transport, broadband Internet, data center and voice services in Vermont and New York with FirstLight's complete portfolio of data, Internet, data center, cloud and voice services, backed by highly responsive, locally-based customer support. The acquisition adds approximately 3,300 fiber route miles across New York, 1,300 fiber route miles throughout Vermont, and Sovernet's Tier III data center in Burlington, Vermont. Along with the previously closed acquisition of Oxford Networks ("Oxford") and the recently announced acquisition of Finger Lakes Technologies Group ("Finger Lakes"), FirstLight will soon operate a regional network consisting of approximately 12,000 route miles of high-capacity fiber in six states and Canada, with more than 7,000 on-net locations and 12 data centers totaling more than 225,000 square feet of space strategically located throughout its footprint.

"The successful acquisition of Sovernet, which includes its New York ION network, substantially increases our fiber density and reach allowing us to better serve our existing customers while expanding into new markets as well," said Kurt Van Wagenen, President and CEO of FirstLight. "We expect this to be a seamless integration in which our customers will quickly reap the benefits of our enhanced operating platform and capabilities."

"With highly complementary networks and services, this combination brings added scale, employee expertise, and synergies that will benefit all our customers and provide exciting opportunities for our talented employees," noted Richard Kendall, Sovernet's Chief Executive Officer.

Scott Baker and Benjy Diesbach, Partners at Oak Hill and members of the FirstLight Board of Directors, added, "The acquisition of Sovernet, combined with the recent Oxford and Finger Lakes transactions, is strategically significant and demonstrates FirstLight and Oak Hill's shared vision of creating the most extensive fiber-based communications services provider operating in the Northeast."

Q Advisors LLC served as financial advisor to ATN International, Inc., the parent company of Sovernet, and Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo, PC acted as legal counsel. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal counsel to FirstLight and Oak Hill. 

About FirstLight Fiber
Headquartered in Albany, New York, FirstLight provides fiber-optic data, Internet, data center cloud and voice services to enterprise and carrier customers throughout the Northeast connecting more than 5,000 locations in service with an additional 20,000 locations serviceable by its more than 9,600 route mile fiber network. FirstLight offers a robust suite of advanced telecommunications products featuring a comprehensive portfolio of high bandwidth connectivity solutions including Ethernet, wavelength and dark fiber services as well as dedicated Internet access solutions, data center, cloud and voice services.

FirstLight's clientele includes national cellular providers, wireline carriers and many leading enterprises, spanning high tech manufacturing and research, hospitals and healthcare, banking and financial, secondary education, colleges and universities, and local and state governments.

To learn more about FirstLight, visit www.firstlight.net, or follow the company on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Oak Hill Capital Partners
Oak Hill is a private equity firm managing funds with more than $9.5 billion of initial capital commitments since inception from leading entrepreneurs, endowments, foundations, corporations, pension funds, and global financial institutions. Over the past 30 years, the professionals at Oak Hill and its predecessors have invested in 81 significant private equity transactions across broad segments of the U.S. and global economies. Oak Hill applies an industry-focused, theme-based approach to investing in the following sectors: Consumer, Retail & Distribution; Industrials; Media & Communications; and Services. Oak Hill works actively in partnership with management to implement strategic and operational initiatives to create franchise value. For more information, please visit www.oakhillcapital.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
Statements included herein may constitute "forward-looking statements," which relate to future events, the future performance, or financial condition of Sovernet following the acquisition of Sovernet by Oak Hill. These statements are not guarantees of future performance, condition, or results and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results and conditions may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of factors.

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