ExteNet Systems gets $1B in recapitalization from Digital Bridge Holdings, StonePeak

Digital Bridge Holdings and StonePeak Infrastructure Partners have committed to more than $1 billion in a recapitalization of ExteNet Systems. The two firms will acquire the interests of existing investors plus provide added capital to grow the company and enable it to pursue small cell deployment opportunities.

In an interview with FierceInstaller, Ross Manire, CEO of ExteNet, said that he anticipates little change from the recapitalization in the near-term. However, in the long-term he believes the company will have a stronger capital structure, so it can be more aggressive with its deployments. Also, Digital Bridge and StonePeak bring synergies and relationships that ExteNet will be able to leverage.

Manire also commented on recent analyst reports that have indicated that there may be a slowdown in small cell deployments. He said that while large venues such as stadiums, arenas and casinos have already been outfitted with small cells and distributed antenna systems, many will need to be updated to improve the capacity of those existing systems. 

Also, Manire pointed to two verticals where strong growth is likely. One is commercial office space, and in particular, buildings with sizes of 400,000 square feet and above. Another is health care facilities with more than 300 beds.

Interestingly, Manire said that small cell providers are having a challenge finding qualified installers because small cell technologies are becoming more complex to deploy.

For example, topography can influence coverage. Manire said there is a tendency to deploy small cells in dense, urban areas, Cloud-RANs in suburbs and DAS and Wi-Fi networks indoors and in stadiums. Cloud RANs (C-RANs) are variants of small cells in which the base station baseband processing is located in the BTS Hub.

For more:
- see this release

Related articles:
Analysts: The market is underestimating demand for towers and small cells
When it comes to small cell strategies, which carrier will win?
Analysts: The market is underestimating demand for towers and small cells
U.S. Cellular agrees to sell non-core towers for $159M