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May 31, 2020

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Electric Lightwave sold for $1.4 billion

Colorado-based Zayo Group hopes to expand West Coast infrastructure

By , Columbian staff writer

Electric Lightwave, a provider of fiber optic networks headquartered in Vancouver, sold Wednesday to a Colorado company for $1.42 billion.

The buyer, telecom infrastructure company Zayo Group, said the deal would give it a greater foothold on the West Coast. Electric Lightwave has more than 12,000 miles of fiber infrastructure on the West Coast, including in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and San Jose.

“Electric Lightwave provides us another unique and dense regional fiber network that advances our position as the only national independent infrastructure provider remaining in the U.S.,” Dan Caruso, chairman and CEO of Zayo, said in a statement.

Electric Lightwave was a division of Integra Telecom until August, when the companies split into two sister companies and reportedly laid off 10 percent of staff.

Electric Lightwave employs 587 people in Washington and 1,194 employees total. Zayo, a publicly traded company, has 3,126 employees and annual revenues of about $2 billion.

It’s unclear what will happen to employees still working for Electric Lightwave. Zayo, which has now completed 40 acquisitions, wrote it “anticipates more than $40 million in annual cost synergies to be realized throughout the integration process.”

Zayo spokesperson Shannon Paulk said the companies will take a wait-and-see approach until the deal is finalized as expected in the first quarter of 2017.

“Until the acquisition is approved by various regulatory bodies, we don’t move forward in figuring out specifically how we will operate,” Paulk wrote in an email. “After close, we’ll work together to figure out all of the strategic and operational details. That’s the ‘integration process.’ ”

Representatives for Electric Lightwave could not be reached for comment.

As reported by The Oregonian, the sale is the latest deal in an active year for Silicon Forest. For the region, Electric Lightwave’s sale is the fourth deal to top $1 billion in 2016 alone.

Other tech company sales this year include that of Wilsonville, Ore.-based Mentor Graphics Corp. for $4.5 billion, Portland-based Lattice Semiconductor for $1.3 billion, and Hillsboro, Ore.-based FEI Co. for $4.2 billion. Cascade Microtech, of Beaverton, Ore., was sold for $352 million this year as well.

Founded in 1990, Electric Lightwave formed in Clark County during the dot-com boom. In 2006, it sold to fellow tech company, Portland-based Integra, for $247 million.

As Integra Telecom, the company tried to expand into the Midwest to serve small and medium-sized companies but was ultimately elbowed out by Comcast and other larger corporations. The company had to restructure its debt in 2009 to avoid bankruptcy.

In 2013, the company relocated to the old Hewlett-Packard campus in east Vancouver. In August 2015, the sister companies began operating under the name Electric Lightwave.

In the wake of the sale Wednesday, shares in Zayo Group Holdings Inc. rose 62 cents to $35.62 per share, before closing at $34.50, down 50 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.