iBus Networks acquires Ubico Networks in an all-cash deal

iBus Group has acquired 100 percent stake in Ubico Networks, its in-building and in-campus neutral-host infrastructure business, and all related assets.
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iBus Networks and Infrastructure Ltd. has acquired Ubico Networks from Shyam Group in an all-cash deal. As per the agreement signed, iBus Group has acquired a 100 percent stake in Ubico Networks, its in-building and in-campus neutral-host infrastructure business, and all related assets for around Rs 100 crore.

Ram Sellaratnam, CEO and MD, iBus, says, “iBus is on a mission to empower telecom companies and its consumers in utilising the power of data as India gets ready to board the 5G bus. Our data consumption pattern is one of the highest in the World. With Ubico’s acquisition, iBus Networks will lead the way in providing neutral IBS and DAS infrastructure sharing with mobile operators, enabling them to serve their customers seamlessly.”

From left: Sunil Menon, Ram Sellaratnam and Subash Vasudevan

Ubico founders have completely exited the company while 33 employees of Ubico will be joining iBus. Post this acquisition, iBus will become one of the largest neutral IBS companies with a pan-India presence covering every Tier-I city in India. 

iBus was founded by Sunil Menon, Subash Vasudevan, and Ram Sellaratnam. The company raised its first round of funding in 2015 from Vallabh Bhansali, Chairman of Enam Capital, and the family offices of Naresh Nagpal and Sandeep Mehta.

iBus offers IBS and last-mile connectivity solutions and acts as a neutral connectivity infrastructure provider for mobile operators.

Heera Girish, CFO, iBus, believes that the combined entity of iBus and Ubico would lead to more consolidation in this space, delivering value and efficiency to all stakeholders. 

Sanjay Kapoor, who has been an advisor and investor in iBus, since its early days, says, ''Unlike voice, 80 percent of data gets consumed indoors. Without effective in-building coverage, both data monetisation and customer experience remain suboptimal. It’s been gratifying to see the iBus management team execute on their vision of developing a nationwide footprint of in-building coverage and playing a leadership role in enhancing the quality of in-building networks. Strong and wide availability of such networks is a pre-requisite to the adoption of fifth-generation network in India."

Cipher Plexis was the exclusive advisor to the transaction.

Ubico currently covers over 200 million sq. ft spread across 400 sites in 42 cities with an average tenancy of 1.5 spread across 600 buildings & campuses. Ubico’s spread includes hotels, hospitals, IT parks, commercial office space, malls and educational institutes, with many leading real estate developers across the country.

iBus recently raised $21 million from Morgan Stanley India Infrastructure fund for its inorganic expansion and technology development of the platform. It deploys IBS infrastructure across 233 commercial and retail sites in India that help mobile operators to improve network capacity and coverage. 

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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