Crown Castle Grabs FiberNet

Wireless tower company Crown Castle International (CCI) said Tuesday that it will pay NextEra Energy (NEE) $1.5 billion for its FiberNet Holdings unit.

The target provides fiber services in South Florida and Texas and will boost Crown Castle's ability to implement small cells, or densely packed nodes and sensors that can augment wireless network coverage in areas where coverage by conventional wireless towers is insufficient.

"While Crown Castle's deal to acquire FiberNet is a reflection of its direct desire to broaden its small-cell assets (and thus attractiveness for new builds), the broader implications highlight the value of fiber is critical for the next wave in network technology evolution," Barclays Capital analyst Amir Rozwadowski wrote in a Tuesday report, adding that just 2% of the network footprints of Crown Castle and FiberNet overlap.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Matthew S. Heinz described the territory in Texas and South Florida as "a gateway to South/Central Americas, Mexico and the Caribbean" in a report.

Crown Castle is one of the largest wireless infrastructure companies in the U.S. Since selling its Australian unit to a private equity affiliate of Macquarie Capital for $1.6 billion last year, the Houston company has focused on domestic infrastructure. Earlier this year, Crown Castle paid Berkshire Partners $461 million for Tower Development.

Crown Castle aims to close the acquisition of FiberNet in the first half of next year.

For NextEra, meanwhile, the FiberNet announcement comes a day after it revealed it would merge with Texas Transmission Holdings for about $2.4 billion in consideration. The target's owners include Omers Private Equity and GIC.

TTHC owns a roughly 20% indirect stake in Oncor Electric Delivery, which NextEra is set to acquire a majority stake in through an $18.7 billion purchase of bankrupt Energy Future Holdings. NextEra also said it would pay $27 million for the 0.22% Oncor stake held by Oncor Management Investment.

The trio of deals, when completed, would give the Juno Beach, Fla., clean energy company full ownership of Oncor, the electricity transmission and distribution arm of EFH. The portfolio company of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) , TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs (GS) also included TXU Energy and Luminant, an electricity generation, mining and wholesale energy trading and power marketing company, until they were spun off to first-lien creditors of EFH arm Texas Competitive Electric Holdings under a reorganization plan that took effect Oct. 3.

More from Mergers and Acquisitions

Attention 60 Minutes: Google Isn't the Only Big-Tech Monopoly

Attention 60 Minutes: Google Isn't the Only Big-Tech Monopoly

Apple Buys Tesla? Amazon Buys Sears? 3 Dream Mergers That Just Make Sense

Apple Buys Tesla? Amazon Buys Sears? 3 Dream Mergers That Just Make Sense

Square Shares Shake Off Concerns About PayPal's Deal for iZettle

Square Shares Shake Off Concerns About PayPal's Deal for iZettle

It's a Family Feud - CBS is Granted Restraining Order Against Shari Redstone

It's a Family Feud - CBS is Granted Restraining Order Against Shari Redstone

How Qualcomm's CEO Is Helping Steer the Shift to 5G

How Qualcomm's CEO Is Helping Steer the Shift to 5G