Twelve months ago, six premier metro fibre providers were jostling for position ahead of a final round of consolidation. Two have emerged to lead the pack, two have been snapped up and two remain as targets.
At first glance, Rob Shanahan, chief executive designate of the newest behemoth in the North American metro market, seems an unlikely contender to take on Dan Caruso, chief executive of Zayo, architect of more than 20 acquisitions and the undisputed king of consolidation.
But dig a little beneath the surface and you find that the two men have much in common: both are grand visionaries who were quick to spot the enormous potential of fibre assets as demand for bandwidth exploded; both are skilled M&A practitioners who bring a deft touch to the often painful process of integration; and both command unfaltering loyalty from private equity backers who have (unusually) passed over several opportunities to cash-in their profits.
Now the pair, who know each other well, are set to go head-to-head in the race to mop up the last remaining fibre providers of any meaningful size in the metro arena....
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