Once, when asked why he didn’t take Digital Bridge public, Marc Ganzi, now CEO of Digital Colony Partners, responded that he didn’t want any investor telling him how to run his business. Interestingly, Ganzi may end up the beneficiary of Crown Castle International’s disagreement with one of its shareholders, hedge fund Elliott Management, which has taken issue with the towerco’s management of its fiber business.
According to Reuters, which interviewed unnamed sources, Digital Colony Partners is interested in buying a minority stake in its fiber-cable business.
The meeting reportedly happened after Elliott’s increased its pressure on Crown Castle to respond to its complaints about its investments in fiber optics, which it says lower its stock performance compared with other tower companies.
In a letter, Elliott asked Crown to address measuring Crown Castle’s overall success, analyzing whether the company’s fiber and small cell strategy is working, and who is best to oversee the company to ensure accountability.
“We believe the feedback we have received points to an urgent need for near-term action to provide investors with more clarity, improved accountability and ultimately a path to greater value. Crown Castle has had more than two months to evaluate our perspectives and recommendations,” the letter said.
The minority interest in Crown Castle’s fiber business would fit in well with Digital Colony’s investments in a diverse array of markets, which include data centers, macro cell towers, DAS and small cell networks, as well as fiber networks. Perhaps, Digital Colony could end up being the one to “oversee” Crown Castle’s fiber assets to increase the return on the investment and “ensure accountability.”