Investment firm KKR buys majority stake in UK’s Hyperoptic

The New York-based private equity firm has completed the acquisition from funds managed by Mubadala and Newlight Partners

FILE PHOTO: Fiber optic cables carrying internet providers are seen running into a server room at Intergate.Manhattan, a data center owned and developed by Sabey Data Center Properties, during a tour of the facility in lower Manhattan, in New York, March 20, 2013.REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
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Private equity firm KKR acquired a majority stake in Hyperoptic, the UK’s largest residential fibre optic broadband provider, as the New York-headquartered firm continues to invest in European telecoms infrastructure.

KKR, which managed about $195 billion (Dh715.7bn) of assets as of the end of last year, completed the acquisition from funds managed by Abu Dhabi's strategic investment firm, Mubadala Investment Company, and Newlight Partners, Hyperoptics said, without disclosing financial details of the transaction. The investment in Hyperoptic was made through KKR's Global Infrastructure Investors Fund III.

KKR is not new to European telecommunications infrastructure. Focusing on mobile connectivity, it has embarked on major joint ventures with Telxius and Altice in Spain and France, respectively, in the past.

“With the support of KKR, our ambitious infrastructure plans to build our hyper-fast network reaching two million homes by 2021 and five million by 2024 will be realised,” said Dona Tobak, chief executive of Hyperoptic.

The London company has connected more than 400,000 properties across over 40 UK cities to its fibre optic network so far, bringing high-speed broadband internet directly into homes and offices via a proprietary cable.

Currently, only 5 per cent of UK homes have access to high-speed internet via fibre optic cable. By comparison, the UAE's fibre optic network covers 94.3 per cent of homes, according to a 2018 report by the Fibre to the Home Council.

Mubadala, which manages $226bn in assets, bought a minority stake in Hyperoptic in November last year for an undisclosed sum.

The company, which invests across 13 sectors globally, is central to Abu Dhabi’s efforts to diversify its economy away from oil. It is one of the largest investors in SoftBank’s Vision Fund, with $15bn pledged to the technology fund, as part of its strategy to increase investments in high-growth sectors.

“Our ICT [Information and Communications Technology] sector strategy is focused on investments in high-growth companies with excellent management … Hyperoptic is a prime example of that,” said Mounir Barakat, executive director of ICT at Mubadala.