CityFibre Completes Strategic Acquisition of Lit Fibre, Who’s Next?

CityFibre, the UK’s largest independent full fibre network, has finalized the Lit Fibre deal. We first heard of the acquisition back in March. The news came slightly early when Sky released the news (they have a habit of doing that).

But now, we can confirm that the deal has formally been completed (announced by CF this morning). We know CityFibre is in conversation with other “altnets” (they’re public about that) and we can expect to see a few more acquisitions this year. We anticipate that 2025 will be the real “acquisition surge.”

Greg Mesch, Chief Executive Officer at CityFibre, said: “We’re delighted to have concluded our acquisition and we’d like to welcome everyone at Lit to the CityFibre team. We’re also pleased to welcome Newlight Partners, with their deep understanding of the fibre infrastructure market, as our newest CityFibre shareholders.

“We’ve already been working hard with the great team at Lit to ensure that its network is integrated quickly as our partners are excited to begin marketing over the new footprint. This is a great opportunity for us to hone our integration capabilities as acquisition becomes an increasing accelerant to our 8m plan.”

Joshua Ho-Walker, Partner at Newlight Partners, said: “We are excited to be CityFibre’s newest shareholder and we look forward to helping bring CityFibre’s market-leading, full-fibre platform to 8m homes in the UK. This acquisition is important recognition for the high-quality business that Lit Fibre built and we are grateful for the Lit Fibre team’s hard work and dedication over the past few years.”

For CityFibre (and others), growing through acquisition makes sense. If, commercially, they can buy properties passed for less or the same cost as laying the fibre themselves, then why wouldn’t they? especially as smaller “altnets” begin to feel the pressure with penetration targets not being met.

This year, I expect we will see CityFibre make some other medium-sized deals and, at the same time, see some of the larger “altnets” merging to create the “third giant” in the altnet world, giving us CityFibre, Nexfibre, and “mighty mergers” (name made up, of course). Once the third giant has been created, then the market will get competitive again. That’s my assumption anyway.

CityFibre’s completion of this deal is great news. Of course, it’s not their first; it’s just their most recent. 2024 will be very exciting for those of us in the industry, that’s for sure! But there is no doubt that 2025 will be the real “consolidation” monster.

Jonny Rae

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