EQT acquires Swedish fiber platform

The private equity and infrastructure fund manager will use its 91% stake in IP-Only to expand into the Swedish fiber network market through organic growth and add-on acquisitions.

EQT, the Stockholm-based investment firm, has agreed to acquire a 91 percent interest in IP-Only Telecommunication, a fiber-based data communications provider, for an undisclosed sum.

Through the acquisition from the firm’s three largest shareholders, EQT said in a statement it would “take the first step in its aim for growth and consolidation of the Swedish fiber network market”.

Uppsala-based IP-Only owns and operates a high-capacity fiber network linking the Nordic capitals of Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki, as well as Sweden’s second- and third-largest cities, Gothenburg and Malmo.

The firm also owns Metro Area Networks (MAN) in Sweden, including the largest MAN in Uppsala, plus several data centres supporting co-location and cloud-based product offerings to corporate clients. Its clients come from both the private and public sectors and include the likes of Swedish National Television and the Swedish Pensions Agency.

“Data traffic is expected to continue to grow at a high pace, making continued conversion to fiber technology inevitable,” said Jannik Kruse Petersen, a partner at EQT, in the statement. “EQT has long and deep experience from the cable TV and communications industries and we believe that with IP-Only as a base, EQT has the ability to create a leading independent and open network operator in Sweden.”

The statement pointed out that data traffic is increasing rapidly due to the proliferation of high quality, on-demand video streaming, cloud services and video conferencing.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

In January, EQT closed its second infrastructure fund on €1.9 billion – beating a target of €1.5 billion after just 11 months. Its first infrastructure fund closed on €1.1 billion in 2008.

In a keynote interview for the March 2013 issue of Infrastructure Investor, EQT head of infrastructure Lennart Blecher said: “Fiber optic is a trend and EQT has a lot of industrial expertise around fiber optic.”