Morgan Stanley-backed in-building connectivity firm buys Ubico for $13.4 mn

Morgan Stanley-backed in-building connectivity firm buys Ubico for $13.4 mn
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20 Apr, 2021

Morgan Stanley Infrastructure fund-backed iBus Network and Infrastructure has acquired Ubico Networks from Shyam Group for about Rs 100 crore ($13.39 million as per current exchange rates).  

iBus has acquired a 100% stake in Ubico, including its in-building and in-campus neutral-host infrastructure business and all related assets, in the all-cash deal, a statement said. Ubico founders have completely exited the company, while 33 of its employees will join iBus. 

The deal makes Bengaluru-based iBus one of the largest neutral in-building solution (IBS) companies, with a pan India presence covering every tier 1 city, the statement said. 

Earlier this month, Morgan Stanley invested Rs 150 crore ($20 million at the time) in iBus to fund its inorganic growth and enhance its technology development. 

iBus was founded in 2013 by Sunil Menon, Subash Vasudevan and Ram Sellaratnam. It raised its first round of funding in 2015 from Vallabh Bhansali, chairman of Enam Capital, and family offices of Naresh Nagpal and Sandeep Mehta. 

The company offers IBS and last-mile connectivity solutions, and acts as a neutral connectivity infrastructure provider for mobile operators. iBus currently deploys IBS infrastructure across 233 commercial and retail sites in India that help mobile operators improve network capacity and coverage.  

“iBus is on a mission to empower telecom companies and its consumers in utilising the power of data as India gets ready to board the 5G bus. Our data consumption pattern is one of the highest in the world. With Ubico’s acquisition, iBus Networks will lead the way in providing neutral IBS and DAS infrastructure sharing with mobile operators, enabling them to serve their customers seamlessly,” Sellaratnam, also the CEO and managing director of iBus, said. 

Heera Girish, CFO of iBus, said that the combined entity of iBus and Ubico would lead to more consolidation in the space, delivering value and efficiency to all stakeholders.  

Cipher-Plexus Capital Advisor was the advisor for the transaction. 

Ubico Networks was founded in 2007 by brothers Udit Mehrotra and Nitin Mehrotra of Shyam Group. It covers over 200 million sq ft spread across 400 sites in 42 cities with an average tenancy of 1.5 across 600 buildings and campuses. It serves hotels, hospitals, IT parks, commercial office space, malls and educational institutes. 

“We believe Ubico would provide a readily available scale for iBus and will expedite its vision to be an end-to-end telecommunications and network service provider, addressing the mounting need for wider and seamless connectivity. The combined entity will be able to lead the network transformation as the country gears up for 5G rollout,” Udit Mehrotra said.