In the bustling world of telecommunications, the annual 2023 TMT M&A Forum stands out as a distinguished event. This year’s forum featured several dynamic breakout panel sessions, including “Enterprise Fiber – consolidation and M&A,” where industry leaders shared their insights. Scott Bergs, DF&I’s CEO, was among these experts who engaged in a progressive discussion on the changing landscape of enterprise fiber, challenges in M&A, and its profound impact on growth. We asked Scott to provide his top takeaways, strategies, and future predictions from the panel, and it’s clear these leaders are collectively committed to driving innovation and sustainable growth.
Top 3 Takeaways
- Changing Definition of Enterprise Fiber: The definition of “Enterprise Fiber” is evolving rapidly. Factors such as cloud migration, AI/Machine Learning, dense FTTx, and the shift to remote work have reshaped our perspectives on the value of various revenue streams. The panel stressed the importance of adaptability to meet the changing demands of the digital landscape.
- Rethinking Communication Infrastructure: The architectures and scale of communication infrastructure from just five years ago must be rethought in the context of their application to current and future revenue streams. This requires a proactive approach to ensure that existing infrastructure aligns with emerging technologies and market trends.
- Challenges to Traditional Valuation Models: Factors like government funding, inflation, high interest rates, and the insatiable demand for bandwidth are challenging traditional valuation models and due diligence processes. It’s crucial for industry players to adapt and refine their approaches to stay competitive in this dynamic landscape.
Strategies and Best Practices
Scott emphasizes the need for a holistic approach in M&A evaluations, stating, “It’s about considering the entire communications infrastructure in a region.” This means moving beyond traditional addressable market concepts and accounting for the full spectrum of infrastructure needs. Additionally, an innovative approach is essential, where target customers are assessed from all possible use cases rather than sticking to conventional verticals. By adopting a “Community as a Customer” perspective, companies can enhance efficiency, scalability, and effectively leverage communication infrastructure for new applications.
Future Prospects and Predictions
In the words of Scott Bergs, “The horizon holds a surging need for greater bandwidth and infrastructure investments.” This rising demand will translate into significant capital injections into the communication infrastructure. This bodes well for companies like DF&I, as they focus on crafting infrastructure solutions that cater to the unique needs of hyperscalers, data center operators, content networks, and wired and wireless network providers.
Scott was joined by additional distinguished industry executives, including:
- Michael Morey, President and CEO, Bluebird Network
- Scott Wilcoxen, Managing Director and Head of Digital Infrastructure, J.P. Morgan
- Bob Thompson, Founder and CEO, Underline
The panel was moderated by David Strauss, Principal, Broadband Success Partners.
The breakout panel session at the 2023 TMT M&A Forum clearly provided invaluable insights into the ever-evolving world of enterprise fiber, M&A challenges, and the future prospects of the digital infrastructure industry.
Recognizing the interconnected nature of different parts of the digital infrastructure industry is essential for industry leaders to make informed decisions and invest effectively in the future of communication infrastructure. This will significantly impact how companies like DF&I operate in the ever-changing world of telecommunications and digital infrastructure.