In­vest­ment com­pany KKR buys ma­jor­ity stake in UK’s Hyper­op­tic

The National - News - - BUSINESS - ALKESH SHARMA

Pri­vate equity com­pany KKR ac­quired a ma­jor­ity stake in Hyper­op­tic, the UK’s largest fi­bre op­tic broad­band provider, as the New York com­pany con­tin­ues to in­vest in Euro­pean tele­coms in­fra­struc­ture.

KKR, which man­aged about $195 bil­lion (Dh715.7bn) of as­sets at the end of last year, com­pleted the ac­qui­si­tion from funds man­aged by Abu Dhabi’s strate­gic in­vest­ment com­pany, Mubadala In­vest­ment Com­pany, and New­light Part­ners, Hyper­op­tics said, with­out dis­clos­ing fi­nan­cial de­tails of the trans­ac­tion.

The in­vest­ment in the UK com­pany was made through KKR’s Global In­fra­struc­ture In­vestors Fund III.

KKR is not new to Euro­pean telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­fra­struc­ture. Fo­cus­ing on mo­bile con­nec­tiv­ity, it has em­barked on ma­jor joint ven­tures with Telx­ius in Spain and Altice in France in the past.

“With the sup­port of KKR, our am­bi­tious in­fra­struc­ture plans to build our hyper-fast net­work reach­ing two mil­lion homes by 2021 and five mil­lion by 2024 will be re­alised,” said Dona Tobak, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Hyper­op­tic.

The Lon­don com­pany has con­nected more than 400,000 prop­er­ties across more than 40 UK cities to its fi­bre op­tic net­work so far, bring­ing high­speed broad­band in­ter­net di­rectly into homes and of­fices via a pro­pri­etary ca­ble.

Cur­rently, only 5 per cent of UK homes have ac­cess to high-speed in­ter­net via fi­bre op­tic ca­ble. By com­par­i­son, the UAE’s fi­bre op­tic net­work cov­ers 94.3 per cent of homes, ac­cord­ing to a 2018 re­port by the Fi­bre to the Home Coun­cil.

Mubadala, which man­ages $226bn in as­sets, bought a mi­nor­ity stake in Hyper­op­tic in Novem­ber last year for an undis­closed sum.

The com­pany, which in­vests across 13 sec­tors glob­ally, is cen­tral to Abu Dhabi’s ef­forts to di­ver­sify its econ­omy away from oil.

Mubadala is one of the largest in­vestors in SoftBank’s Vi­sion Fund, with $15bn pledged to the tech­nol­ogy fund, as part of its strat­egy to in­crease in­vest­ments in high-growth sec­tors.

“Our ICT [In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­nol­ogy] sec­tor strat­egy is fo­cused on in­vest­ments in high-growth com­pa­nies with ex­cel­lent man­age­ment … Hyper­op­tic is a prime ex­am­ple of that,” said Mounir Barakat, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of ICT at Mubadala.

Bloomberg

Dana Tobak, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Hyper­op­tic, says KKR’s sup­port will help achieve com­pany tar­gets

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