Former Global Tower Partners executives Alex Gellman, Mike Belski and Bernard Borghei just couldn’t walk away from the cell tower industry. Less than a year after the sale of their towers to American Tower, the three have emerged as co-founders of Vertical Bridge Holdings, a privately-owned tower company headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, that will focus on owning, operating and managing cell towers and rooftop sites in the U.S. Market.
“When we sold GTP, we felt like we had unfinished business,” Gellman, company CEO, told AGL Link. “We saw the rapid emergence of new sites at levels that we have not seen in our industry for quite a while. We wanted to be a part of it.”
With the pipeline shifting from amendments to new leases, tower building is on the rise, according to Gellman. “The opportunities are to acquire as well as build. We are looking to do both,” he said. “We have good people, a good market and access to capital. Why wouldn’t we do this?”
Vertical Bridge recently completed two acquisitions expanding its sites portfolio in several states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Texas.
“We acquired premium locations: some roof tops and some towers, well-tenanted (Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T) locations in good markets,” Gellman said. “It is a good start for us and we have an active pipeline for additional transactions queued up. More to come.”
Vertical Bridge plans to function very similarly to GTP, but will probably grow faster than that company did in the early years because of its established relationships with carriers and increased access to capital.
“We are going to grow pretty quickly. We are going to focus on building towers more than GTP did, but that is more of a function of the current market. Prices are pretty high right now,” Gellman said.
GTP was in business for 10 years and had a financial relationship with the Macquarie Group that lasted seven years. Gellman said the new company has no exit strategy.
“We are looking to build Vertical Bridge for the long haul. We believe the market is strong and it is a good, stable business,” he said. “Where we see our short term opportunities for growth is predominantly macrocell driven.”
Building the Team
Vertical Bridge has also announced the formation of its executive team. Along with Gellman, Borghei is senior vice president of operations and Belski is senior vice president of leasing and development.
Formerly with Brown Brothers Harriman, Bob Paige joined Vertical Bridge as senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions. Daniel Marinberg, previously with the international law firm Greenberg Traurig, is vice president and general counsel. Johnny Crawford, who was with SBA Communications, is vice president of development. Suzanne Docobo, a tax consultant for GTP, joined the company as vice president and corporate controller.