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Swedish group acquires majority stake in Spirit Communications

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Sweden-based EQT Infrastructure III fund plans to acquire a majority stake of Columbia-based Spirit Communications, a privately held provider of fiber-based data and broadband services in the Carolinas and Georgia.

Spirit’s founding partners and current owners will “retain a significant stake in the company,” according to a news release issued today.

As part of the deal, Robert Keane, president and CEO of Spirit, and Brian Singleton, Spirit chairman, will each be appointed to the new board.

Founded in 1985, Spirit is a dedicated provider of fiber-based data and broadband services to enterprises, governments and wireless carriers in the South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.

The company’s network comprises over 9,000 miles of fiber and serves thousands of customers across 17 metro markets. Spirit’s fiber is directly connected to more than 2,400 buildings and over 2,500 cell sites.

“After many months of effort to identify the right partner to continue and accelerate Spirit’s capabilities, EQT was identified as the type of partner that would help transform the business,” Keane said in a statement. “EQT has had a long and storied history, beginning with the heritage of the Wallenberg family, which has significant investments in many household names in North America such as Electrolux, AstraZeneca and Ericsson, to name a few.”

EQT will continue the development of Spirits fiber footprint and services, the release said.

“This partnership with EQT Infrastructure gives us a unique platform for even greater success in the years to come,” said Singleton, who’s also CEO of Chester-based TruVista, a provider of communications services to Chester, Fairfield and Kershaw counties in South Carolina, and Franklin, Hart, Rabun and Stephens counties in Georgia.

The parties did not disclose financial details of the transaction.

“We are very impressed with what the management team and the current owners have been able to achieve with the company and are thrilled about the opportunity to invest in the future growth and development of Spirit,” said Jan Vesely, director at EQT Partners, investment adviser to the fund. “The company is a perfect match for EQT Infrastructure’s expertise in the fiber sector and strategy to build a platform for growth in the region.”

TD Securities and Waller Capital Partners served as co-financial advisers to Spirit in connection with the transaction, and the McNair Law Firm served as legal counsel to Spirit in connection with the transaction.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius LLP served as legal advisers to EQT Infrastructure, which is headquartered in Stockholm.

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