Crown Castle Buys NextG Networks

Crown Castle International Corp. will buy privately held NextG Networks Inc. for about $1 billion, Reuters reported. NextG, which is owned by a group of investors led by Madison Dearborn Partners, operates thousands of distributed antenna systems in major U.S. cities including New York and Chicago, Reuters wrote. Crown Castle is a publicly traded wireless tower company.

(Reuters) – Wireless tower company Crown Castle International Corp will buy privately-held NextG Networks Inc. for about $1 billion as it looks to add smaller antenna systems that help telecom carriers boost coverage in cities.

NextG Networks operates thousands of distributed antenna systems (DAS) — smaller alternatives to the huge towers owned by Crown Castle — in major U.S. cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Due to their ease of deployment, the miniature systems also help operators get over zoning restrictions and avoid having to lease large plots to house the towers.

They are especially useful in crowded urban areas, where securing sites can be a challenge and the demand for data keeps growing.

“Increasingly, we believe that small-cell architecture, such as DAS, will be an important complement to traditional macro tower installations,” Crown Castle Chief Executive Ben Moreland said in a statement.

Crown Castle, which competes with American Tower Corp., said it would fund the purchase of NextG — owned by a group of investors led by Madison Dearborn Partners — with debt.

Crown Castle expects the deal to make it the largest independent DAS operator in the United States and add to its long-term recurring cash flow per share, it said.

Crown Castle shares were trading at $42.57 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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