ExteNet Completes Recap, Damns the Torpedoes

By J. Sharpe Smith —

December 3, 2015 — ExteNet Systems completed its $1.4 billion recapitalization by its new investors Digital Bridge and Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, which allows the privately held distributed network provider to execute its long-term plans for the deployment of outdoor and indoor distributed networks and small cells and maybe get bigger as well.

“With the Internet of Things a reality and 5G in the near horizon, wireless infrastructure must advance with a focus on innovative, pragmatic solutions to enable anytime, anywhere broadband connectivity,” said Ross Manire, president and CEO of ExteNet, who will remain on the board as Digital Bridge CEO Marc Ganzi assumes the position of chairman of the board.

To date all of ExteNet’s growth has been organic except for when it teamed up with SBA Communications to acquire the Mobilitie assets in 2012. The recapitalization, however, not only provided ExteNet with needed liquidity but it gave the company fuel in which to grow the business potentially through acquisitions.

“We will evaluate other companies like us in this space that might need the capital and infrastructure that we can provide,” Manire said. “It’s early in the process. No definite list of possible acquisitions. Right now there is not a huge landscape of companies that are doing what we are doing.” ExteNet will also consider opportunities outside the United States, which might be facilitated by Digital Bridge’s holdings in Mexico and China.

Manire addressed reported changes in the distributed network marketplace, which is said to be increasingly enterprise driven.

“We do see a bifurcation in the market where venue owners will need to increasingly participate economically in funding the DAS and Small Cell deployments,” Manire said. “There will be a fundamental change in the market place. We are not there yet. It is happening on a small scale, but most of what we do uses the traditional model of carrier funding.”

Other board members for the newly recapitalized ExteNet include Ben Jenkins and Warren Roll from Digital Bridge; Trent Vichie, Brian McMullen and Spencer Ryan from Stonepeak; Edward Pallesen from Goldman Sachs; and David Schaller from Delta-V Capital. Along with Digital Bridge and Stonepeak, both Goldman Sachs and Delta-V Capital are also investors in the new holding company.