Lander & Rogers advises Uniti Group in strategic acquisition of Telstra FTTP assets and equity raise
Diversified telecommunications provider Uniti Group Limited acquired Telstra-owned Velocity® and South Brisbane Exchange fibre to the premises (FTTP) assets for $140 million in December 2020.
Together, the sale assets constitute Australia's second-largest private FTTP network, with an estimated 68,000 premises passed, 65,000 FTTP-connected premises and 50,000 active premises. The purchase adds additional scale and national reach to Uniti’s Wholesale and Infrastructure FTTP network, increasing active premises by approximately 40% to over 170,000.
One of several acquisitions in the past 18 months, the deal forms part of ASX-listed Uniti Group's strategy to grow its Wholesale and Infrastructure operation, strengthening its position as the second-largest provider of FTTP services in Australia behind NBN Co.
Lander & Rogers acted for Uniti Group on the acquisition of the Telstra FTTP assets and equity raising to partly fund the acquisition. The equity raise consisted of a $50 million underwritten institutional placement and $10 million (later upsized to $20m) share purchase plan for existing shareholders.
According to Lander & Rogers lead corporate partner, Jackie Solakovski, the share purchase plan was well-received, noting "it was oversubscribed by over seven times the original plan size, which was particularly pleasing given it was during the traditionally quiet end-of-year holiday period".
The firm's work included transaction due diligence and documentation for the FTTP asset acquisition, which was led by Jackie; and making technical submissions under the ASX listing rules, drafting offer materials, negotiating the underwriting agreement and liaising with the underwriters and their advisors in relation to the capital raising, which was led by Lander & Rogers corporate partner Simon Davidson.
The deal follows Uniti Group's acquisition of OptiComm via scheme of arrangement for $695 million, which was implemented in November 2020. Both Uniti Group and OptiComm were bidding for the Telstra FTTP assets earlier in the year and, according to Jackie, "Uniti's strategic acquisition of OptiComm halted both parties' involvement in the Telstra FTTP sale process".
"When the OptiComm takeover completed, Uniti and Telstra were able to re-engage in relation to the sale of the Telstra assets, resulting in a dash to complete the transaction before Christmas," Jackie confirmed.
"It is a privilege to be part of Uniti Group's growth journey," said Jackie, noting the deal marked the fourth instance in which the firm has assisted Uniti Group with capital raising activities in the past 18 months and the eighth acquisition in that time.
For more information, access Uniti Group's original press release here.