Brightspeed gets $500M investment from Abu Dhabi firm Mubadala

North Carolina-based operator Brightspeed has caught the eye of Abu Dhabi sovereign investor Mubadala, which announced Tuesday it will invest $500 million into the operator.

The investment, subject to regulatory approvals and conditions, would make Mubadala a minority shareholder alongside Apollo Global Management, Brightspeed’s parent company. Apollo last October closed a $7.5 billion deal to acquire Lumen’s ILEC assets in 20 states, with Brightspeed officially launching operations as the fifth largest ILEC in the U.S.

Mubadala boasts a global portfolio of $284 billion, spanning six continents across sectors such as digital infrastructure, real estate and credit investments. The firm has also invested nearly $1 billion (£800 million) into CityFibre, a U.K.-based network operator that has used private investments to help deploy its network.

Khaled Abdulla Al Qubaisi, CEO of Real Estate and Infrastructure Investments at Mubadala, said the firm “sees huge opportunity in supporting Brightspeed's growth strategy in transitioning large swathes of the U.S. to fiber connectivity and promoting digital equity and inclusion.”

“We're delighted to be partnering with Apollo and Brightspeed to capitalize on the growth opportunities in fiber deployment and create not only sustainable, long-term value, but also support the digital infrastructure development across the U.S.,” he stated.

Other telco investments from Mubadala include India operator Jio and most recently Global Connect, a fiber-based data center service provider located in the Nordics.

As for Brightspeed, it began serving its first fiber customers in March and as of April had turned up service in six states. The operator plans to reach more than 1 million passings by the end of 2023 and 3 million locations within five years.

"We are in the early stages of our company's growth trajectory, and we are grateful for Mubadala's endorsement of Brightspeed's vision and strategy,” stated Brightspeed CEO Bob Mudge. “The added investment from another well-respected institutional investor is a testament to the value we will create and the connections we will enable for homes and businesses across our 20-state footprint."

Mubadala’s investment stems from its existing partnership with Apollo. Last February, the companies expanded their relationship to bolster Apollo’s Capital Solutions business. Mubadala at the time said the partnership with Apollo is designed to “benefit a wide range of capital needs and meet increasing market demand for expedient and bespoke multi-billion-dollar equity and debt solutions.”