GTCR to Invest $200 Mln to $300 Mln in Zayo/AboveNet

The complicated $2.2 billion acqiusition for AboveNet took a while to come about, but has emerged as one of the top PE-backed deals of first quarter.

GTCR will likely put in $200 million to $300 million in Zayo, which is buying AboveNet, says Phil Canfield, a principal at the Chicago-based PE firm.

GTCR spent six to nine months in discussions with Zayo, a bandwidth infrastructure provider, says Canfield, who spoke to me on the sidelines of the Partner Connect conference on Wednesday. GTCR wanted to invest in Zayo, he says.

The buyout shop was initially considering creating providing an equity line of credit that Zayo could tap, Canfield says. Then the deal with AboveNet happened, rather quickly, over about two months. Zayo, in March, agreed to buy AboveNet, which provides broadband connections to big companies and carriers, for about $2.2 billion.

Charlesbank Capital Partners, which is currently a Zayo investor, is reupping, Canfield says. “We’re the new investor,” he says.

Dan Caruso, AboveNet’s co-founder, president and CEO, is the “best guy in the fiber business,” Canfield adds. “We’re excited to create a business with him.”