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FirstLight is sold, once again

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 23. 2018 9:20AM
James Doyle, senior sales engineer, talks to visitors during an open house in 2016 for FirstLight in Manchester. The California private equity firm that owns the telecommunications service provider is selling the company to a private equity firm based in Europe. (UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER - FirstLight, a company that operates three data centers in New Hampshire, is getting sold again.

Antin Infrastructure Partners, a private equity firm based in Paris and London, said Wednesday it is buying Albany-based FirstLight from Oak Hill Capital Partners, a California private equity firm that acquired the company two years ago.

The company's New Hampshire workforce has grown from 25 to 75 employees during the past two years.

FirstLight, which operates fiber optics networks, has three data centers in New Hampshire: at 77 Sundial Ave., Manchester; 16 Cavendesh Court, Lebanon; and 310 Marlboro Road, Keene.

“There are no planned changes to our NH-based workforce as a result of this transaction,” said Kurt Van Wagenen, First Light's president and CEO.

“This transaction is a positive development for the state of NH,” he said by email. “Antin is interested in continuing to enhance FirstLight's capabilities and fiber network in the region. The commitment that FirstLight has demonstrated in providing high quality, fiber-based services to New Hampshire remains unchanged.”

Through the years, previous owner Riverside Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm that primarily focuses on the health care and technology industries, had acquired segTel of Lebanon and other companies to create FirstLight, which later bought G4 Communications of Manchester.

The latest deal is expected to close in the second half of 2018. Terms weren't disclosed.

“Antin is an experienced fiber investor and an ideal partner to support our growth strategy,” Van Wagenen said.

“Under Oak Hill's guidance, with support from minority investors Novacap and Riverside Partners, FirstLight has quadrupled in size, enhanced its service portfolio and expanded its fiber network both organically and strategically through the acquisitions of Oxford Networks, Sovernet Communications, Finger Lakes Technologies Group and 186 Communications.”


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