Oak Hill invests $150M in fiber broadband network builder Lit Communities

May 16, 2023
Lit was founded in Birmingham, Alabama in 2019 and leverages public-private partnerships with local governments and municipalities to build and operate last-mile fiber networks.
Lit Communities
Lit Logo

Oak Hill Capital this month announced that it has committed $150 million in primary capital to Lit Communities to further fund and accelerate the construction of Lit's fiber-based network in unserved and underserved communities across the United States.

In partnership with local communities and vendors, Lit notes it has successfully built and currently operates fiber networks reaching approximately 20,000 homes and businesses. Oak Hill's investment will enable Lit to bring state-of-the-art, high-speed fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks to more than 200,000 locations over the next few years. Oak Hill is an experienced investor in broadband expansion through fast-growing, independently owned networks in multiple states.

Lit's existing shareholders, including: Stephens Capital Partners; The Pritzker Organization (TPO); and the Lit management team are all remaining shareholders who in a May 4 press release said they plan to continue to support the business going forward.

Lit Communities was founded in Birmingham, Alabama in 2019 and leverages public-private partnerships with local governments and municipalities to build and operate last-mile fiber networks. The company now has networks in place, under construction or in planning in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Lit provides a full, turnkey solution for building broadband infrastructure in communities of all sizes, enabling them to create digital equity for their residents, businesses, and municipalities. The company partners with real estate developers, municipal, county, and other governmental entities, as well as a variety of private partners to deploy last-mile fiber optic network infrastructure.

Lit's networks also support a wide variety of other services in addition to internet, including but not limited to voice, telehealth, home security, home automation, small cell, DAS, and wireless backhaul, and public safety applications.

"This is a pivotal point for our company," said Andrew Massey, chief financial officer for Lit. "We've spent years developing an expertise in collaboratively working with local governments and municipalities to determine where and how to efficiently build networks. The Oak Hill investment provides us the capital and expertise to accelerate our plans of providing ultra-fast, reliable, and affordable broadband service in the communities we partner with and serve."

Brian Snider, chief executive officer at Lit, remarked: "Lit Communities is already in a strong position with the backing from Stephens and TPO - their experience in the industry and understanding of our model has been paramount in our success to date. We're thrilled to partner with Oak Hill to further strengthen our position by benefiting from their long-standing experience and expertise in our space. I could not be prouder of the Lit team; they are what truly sets us apart. The future is extremely bright at Lit."

Bank Street Group LLC served as exclusive financial advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP and Maynard Nexsen served as legal counsel to Lit Communities and existing equity holders in connection with the transaction. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal counsel to Oak Hill.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with Brian and his talented team, alongside Stephens and TPO, to support the expansion of Lit's fiber network to many more underserved American communities," said Adam Hahn, principal at Oak Hill. "We believe that reliable, high-speed access to the Internet is fundamental to driving economic growth and equal opportunity in local communities across the country," added Jeff Butler, vice president at Oak Hill.

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