Macquarie plugs $280m into InSite Wireless

The Australian firm has acquired a 42.5% stake in the wireless telecoms company from Catalyst Investors through MIP III.

Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets (MIRA), the funds arm of Australia’s Macquarie Group, has acquired a 42.5 percent stake in InSite Wireless for about $280 million, the firm said in a statement.

It has also agreed to additional investments to support the Virginia-based company’s growth, but did not provide further details. A spokesperson for Macquarie declined to comment beyond the press release.

MIRA, which acquired the equity interest from New York-based buyout firm Catalyst Investors, is investing in the company through Macquarie Infrastructure Partners III (MIP III), a 10-year closed-ended fund that focuses on infrastructure and related assets in the US and Canada that the fund manager closed on $3 billion in September 2014.

Catalyst Investors will remain a shareholder in InSite through its fund Catalyst Investors IV, as will Cox Enterprises and several of its subsidiaries, according to a statement.

InSite is one of the largest privately owned wireless telecoms infrastructure companies in the US, with about 1,500 towers across the US, US territories, Canada and Australia. It did not disclose what percentage Catalyst and Cox will continue to own in the group. A spokesperson for InSite had not responded to a request for comment by press time.

InSite’s existing management team – president and chief executive David Weisman and chief financial officer Lance Cawley, who are also co-founders – will continue in their respective roles.

“The MIP III investment in InSite represents a significant growth opportunity for us,” Weisman said in the statement. “We’re delighted to partner with an experienced investor that has such a keen understanding of the wireless telecommunications infrastructure space.”

Macquarie’s other investments in wireless telecoms companies include CCAL, the Australian subsidiary of New York-listed wireless tower operator, Crown Castle International. MIRA teamed up with Australian pension fund UniSuper and Switzerland's UBS Global Asset Management in May 2015 to buy the asset for A$2.0 billion in cash ($1.5 billion; €1.4 billion).

In May 2014, Macquarie, through its Mexico infrastructure fund MMIF, partnered with global communications infrastructure platform Digital Bridge to launch Mexico Tower Partners, a 50-50 joint venture resulting from the merger of the two firms’ existing in-country portfolios.