Crown Castle International Corp. has agreed to acquire downtown telecommunications firm Wilcon Operations for $600 million from private equity firm Pamlico Capital.
Wilcon’s 1,900-mile network of fiber-optic cable, primarily in Los Angeles and San Diego, will supplement Houston-based Crown Castle’s existing grid in Southern California and boost its small cell tower network.
“The acquisition of Wilcon provides us an extensive set of dense metro fiber assets that will enable us to continue to deliver fiber-fed small cell solutions for our wireless customers in our fastest growing and most active market,” said Jay Brown, Crown Castle’s chief executive officer, in a statement.
The telecommunications industry has steadily consolidated over the past decade as larger firms have gobbled up smaller, regional companies. Anticipating the pace of industry consolidation to slow in the years to come, Wilcon Chief Executive Jon DeLuca said the time was right to sell.
“There have been other acquisitions in the communication-infrastructure space at very high valuations,” DeLuca said. “As a private-equity owned company, we knew there would be a time that we had to bring a return to our investors. Given the valuations in the market it seemed like a good opportunity.”
Pamlico Capital of Charlotte, N.C., holds a majority stake in Wilcon. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.
The transaction is expected to contribute about $40 million to Crown Castle’s gross margin along with $10 million of general and administrative expenses, according to a statement.