Canada Public Pension-Backed BAI Buys Major US 5G Player

Posted on 06/28/2021

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) and Alberta Investment Management Corporation, on behalf of certain of its clients, (AIMCo) made a significant follow-on commitment to BAI Communications. This C$ 2.4 billion commitment will support BAI’s global growth strategy, acquisitions, and new partnerships. This includes its recently announced acquisition of Mobilitie LLC, in the United States as well as the new partnership with Transport for London (TfL) in the U.K., among other initiatives. BAI Communications designs, builds, and operates cellular, Wi-Fi, broadcast, radio, and IP networks around the world. Newport Beach, California-based Mobilitie’s has assets and operations across 5G outdoor and indoor wireless infrastructure, worldwide credibility in small cell deployment, and has worked with transit operators across major U.S. cities. Backed by Mobilitie’s Founder and Chairman, Gary Jabara, and Shamrock Capital, Mobilitie’s portfolio includes existing agreements to provide wireless communications to the public transit systems in Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area. Mobilitie’s has a broader portfolio of 220 venues across 39 states, 10,000 small cells across 45 states, and 300 tower sites across 14 U.S. states. Founded in 2005, Mobilitie competes against other wireless venue providers like Boingo.

According to the press release, “The acquisition of Mobilitie, the largest privately held wireless telecommunications infrastructure company in the United States, represents a major expansion of BAI’s business in North America where it provides cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity across large infrastructure projects, including the New York City subway system, under its majority owned business Transit Wireless. The acquisition significantly extends BAI’s operations across one of the world’s fastest growing connected infrastructure markets, and represents an important step in BAI’s growth strategy, supporting its drive to become one of the leading digital infrastructure players in North America, as well as globally.

BAI’s new partnership with TfL will deliver high speed mobile coverage across the London Underground by the end of 2024, alongside a new full-fibre network to provide London’s homes and businesses with faster internet and better connectivity. The technology will support 4G and 5G roll out and will be the most advanced of its kind in the world, helping to support London’s economic growth.”

CPP Investments
Since 2009, CPP Investments has been a majority shareholder in BAI Communications (at 86% ownership), with AIMCo as a minority investor. The Mobilitie transaction is subject to customary regulatory clearances and is expected to close in the third quarter of the calendar year.

Deal Advisors on Mobilitie Acquisition
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to BAI Communications and Latham & Watkins LLP served as legal advisor.

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to Mobilitie and Goodwin Procter LLP served as legal advisor to Mobilitie LLC.

Cooley LLP served as legal advisor to Shamrock Capital.

FCC Fine
In April 2018, Mobilitie agreed to pay a US$ 1.6 million fine from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) failed to conduct required environmental and historic preservation reviews, including Tribal consultation, prior to construction of certain facilities.

On February 19, 2013, Shamrock Capital Growth Fund III invested US$ 100 million in equity capital into Mobilitie. On February 29, 2012, Mobilitie raised US$ 1.1 billion in capital through a sale of over 2,300 United States and LATAM tower and DAS sites to SBA Communications Corporation.

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