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Suitors finally emerge for GTT's infrastructure division

Heavily indebted GTT Communications has reportedly stirred up some interest for its fiber assets in Europe, which sit within the company's infrastructure division.

According to Bloomberg, affiliates of Australian investment bank Macquarie Group, UK private equity firm 3i Group, and AustralianSuper, a pension fund manager, were in "advanced talks" with GTT's top brass.

One unnamed source said the consortium was willing to shell out $2 billion for the GTT fiber European footprint, which gave the company's share price a 31% bounce when news broke.

The uplift is not as impressive as it might sound. Heavy net losses and mounting debt, as rising integration costs took their toll following a string of acquisitions, has seen the GTT share price tank in recent months.

GTT's pan-European fiber assets, along with related subsea transatlantic fiber and data center infrastructure, were the result of acquiring network providers Interoute and Hibernia.

But the firm's strategy has shifted since those heady M&A days, moving away from infrastructure to focus more on services.

Bumpy ride
GTT began the formal process of inviting bids for its infrastructure division in March. The original plan was to have the whole thing done and dusted by August.

If there appears to be a slight delay in pushing the deal through, GTT has already taken action to replace Rick Calder as CEO, who stepped down on June 1.

Thirteen years at the GTT helm, Calder was the driving force behind a flurry of recent acquisitions. These included not only Interoute and Hibernia, but also KPN International, Transbeam, Global Capacity and Perseus Telecom.

Ernie Ortega, formerly GTT's chief revenue officer, took on the role of interim CEO. The board said in May that it had initiated an executive search for a new CEO to "lead GTT moving forward."

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— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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