Vocus to Buy Australian Fiber Network, Projects for $637 Million

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By Brett Foley

(Bloomberg) — Vocus Communications Ltd. agreed to buy one of Australia’s largest fiber networks and two sub-sea cable projects for about A$861 million ($637 million) from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and CIMIC Group Ltd.

Vocus will buy Nextgen Networks, the North West Cable System and the Australia Singapore Cable project for A$807 million and a deferred consideration of as much as A$54 million, the Sydney-based company said in a statement Wednesday. The acquisition will be funded by a A$652 million capital raising and existing debt and is subject to regulatory clearance.

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The deal will give Vocus a fiber backhaul network that covers 17,000 kilometers and connects capital cities in Australia to remote and regional areas, according to the statement. The company will also gain the NWCS project to build a 2,000 kilometer submarine cable from Darwin to Port Hedland that will service the mining and offshore oil and gas industries in Western Australia, and a 4,600-kilometer submarine cable project connecting Singapore, Jakarta and Perth.

The deal continues a wave of consolidation by Australia’s second-tier telecommunications providers as they try to compete with Telstra Corp., the largest mobile company. Last year, Vocus agreed to buy fiber-optics carrier Amcom Telecommunications Ltd. and also took control of rival M2 Group Ltd. in a A$1.93 billion deal.

Nextgen Networks is controlled by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, while CIMIC, formerly known as Leighton Holdings Ltd., owns 29 percent.

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