Grain Management Takes Controlling Stake in Michigan Telecom Provider 123NET

By Greg Tavarez April 26, 2024

High-speed internet is a must today. Everything from remote work and education to entertainment and healthcare needs reliable broadband connectivity. This urgency, though, is acute in underserved areas, especially those where residents and businesses often struggle with limited or nonexistent internet access.

In Michigan, 123NET, founded in 1995, has been a key player in the state's communications landscape for nearly three decades. The company boasts a vast 3,100-mile network that encompasses long-haul and dense metro fiber optic infrastructure concentrated in the state's major cities. 

Additionally, 123NET owns Michigan's largest carrier hotel, a facility that houses and interconnects various telecommunications providers, and operates high-density data centers in Detroit and Grand Rapids.

To further expand broadband infrastructure in regions lacking adequate internet service, Grain Management, an investor in the broadband and communications industry, announced it reached an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in 123NET.

The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Bank Street acted as the exclusive financial advisor to 123NET throughout the transaction process. Notably, 123NET's existing leadership team will be retained and will maintain a significant ownership stake in the company under the new structure.

This acquisition aligns with Grain Management's track record of investing in and fostering the growth of regional broadband providers. Industry analysts anticipate the deal will empower 123NET to expand its reach and service offerings.

 "123NET's operations have continuously grown through a series of strategic investments that ultimately created one of the Midwest's largest and most significant telecom enterprises," said Dan Irvin, 123NET Chief Executive Officer. "Together, our capable teams and combined resources will better enable us to serve current customers while attracting new opportunities, including expanding our high-density, A.I.-capable data centers and pursuing BEAD funding to improve affordable, reliable connectivity to unserved and underserved areas."

The BEAD Program, established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, aims to bridge the digital divide by allocating funds to expand broadband access in unserved and underserved communities across the U.S. By collaborating with Grain Management, 123NET is positioned to tap into these resources and play a vital role in closing the digital gap within Michigan.

"Grain's partnership with 123NET is the culmination of a multi-year relationship with this long-standing and experienced management team," said Raghav Nayar, Managing Director at Grain. "We think very highly of the disciplined, analytics-driven culture at 123NET, and we believe our synergy enables us to achieve even greater results together."

The combined entity will only become a bigger force in Michigan's telecommunications sector by driving innovation and creating broader access to high-speed internet services for residents and businesses throughout the state.

Edited by Alex Passett
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