By J. Sharpe Smith
May 12, 2016 — ExteNet Systems has purchased Telecommunications Properties Inc. (TPI), which designs, builds and operates large fiber-optic DAS and small cell networks inside high profile venues, such as professional football stadiums, universities and large real estate projects. The deal closed on Monday. No financial details were released.
“We think it is going to be a great fit with our indoor business,” Ross Manire, president and CEO, ExteNet. “They have been operating in this space for many years and understand it well. They know how to build large complex systems for high profile venues like Cowboys stadium and Madison Square Garden.”
Not a lot is expected to change internally because of the acquisition. The TPI team will stay intact post acquisition, but the name will change to ExteNet. Sales activities between TPI and ExteNet will be merged.
What will change is TPI’s access to ExteNet’s capital. The acquisition of TPI is ExteNet Systems’ first since completing a $1.4 billion recapitalization through investors Digital Bridge and Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners.
“The capital that we have available for our builds will be available for anything they have in the pipeline,” Manire said. “The goal is to accelerate our indoor business through this combination.”
A privately-held company, TPI was owned by Jennifer and James Chiles, who founded the company in 1985 to build and operate broadcast transmission and wireless communication sites. James, known as “Jimmy,” began his career at Motorola in 1977 and became the national cellular infrastructure manager.
Through the years, Jimmy has started and sold a number of wireless infrastructure companies, including Netlink Communications, an early carrier in the 800 MHz band that was bought by Sprint; Broadcast Towers, a towerco that was bought by Global Signal; Aspen Communications, a fiber networking company that was purchased by Digital Realty.
TPI operated DAS infrastructure inside the Madison Square Garden, LA Forum, AT&T Stadium, KFC YUM Arena, Kentucky Exposition Center and the University of Texas. Outdoors, TPI operated small cell fiber optic networks and DAS through its regulatory permits and franchise authority to serve carriers with capacity and coverage problems.
In April last year, TPI received regulatory approval to build carrier-hosted 800 MHZ public safety network for North Texas, which will be used by a variety of governmental agencies, first responders and other public safety agencies.
“We are seeing public safety included in some of the network builds that we are doing, because we can implement it at the same time that we do the cellular infrastructure. Since Jimmy has done this, it will be a good fit. I think we will see more of that as we go forward,” Manire said.