The company would review properties that came on the market, he added. "We don't set any goals for wanting to do acquisitions," Caruso said. AT&T Inc. is another possibility. Jaegers noted that the telecom has been upgrading its networks in the Southeast. Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., telecom network engineering and construction company Dycom Industries Inc. gave an indication of the pace of AT&T's network construction in a Wednesday earnings call. Dycom said that its business with AT&T increased more than 86% from the prior year. CenturyLink Inc. gained landlines in the Carolinas through its $11.6 billion purchase of Embarq Corp. in 2009. "They might be interested in this fiber footprint as well," Jaegers suggested. TW Telecom Inc. could look at the company, too. Lumos Networks Corp., of Waynesboro, Va., operates in the region. Jaegers suggested the company would have trouble financing a deal without new funding because its debt is about 4 times Ebitda.
One question is whether private equity firms would look at DukeNet. Zayo's investor base reflects the sector's appeal. Another large fiber outfit, Lightower Fiber Networks LLC, has backing from firms such as Berkshire Partners LLC, Pamlico Capital and Abry Partners. Some fiber companies have attracted double-digit Ebitda multiples. Jaegers suggested that prices could see some compression, because much of the growth from spooling fiber to cellphone towers have already been realized. Written by Chris Nolter in New York