Agreement with New Beginnings Acquisition Corp. expected to deliver a 5G global network infrastructure buildout.
Airspan Networks recently announced that it has entered a definitive business combination agreement with New Beginnings Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The merger, which is should close during the third quarter of 2021, is expected to have an enterprise value of $822 million. New Business Acquisition will be renamed Airspan Network Holdings, Inc., a publicly listed company, when the deal is finalized.
Airspan provides software and hardware for 5G network solutions, which likely played a part in New Beginnings’ interest for acquisition. The recent success of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) $80 billion C-band spectrum auction showed how much operators and new market entrants are willing to invest in the next generation of wireless connectivity, which is being deployed more rapidly. Meanwhile, Airspan’s network equipment infrastructure allows maximum efficiency of wireless spectrum, which is deemed a costly, but scarce resource.
Network operators are currently adopting virtualization and densification, and making a swift change from the days of relying on proprietary hardware to focus on software and cloud architecture. These trends are ideal for Airspan, as it will have the chance to grab market share from traditional network providers and enter new high growth market segments like private 5G and fixed wireless access. Both of these markets are considered addressable within the new telecom environment.
“These seismic 5G industry trends play right into Airspan’s strengths,” Airspan CEO and President Eric Stonestrom said in a statement. “This transaction is expected to help fund our growth plans and accelerate our vision of providing our customers with leading edge 5G networks. We are at the precipice of a significant capital-intensive upgrade as 5G deployments drive the future growth of existing mobile carriers, new market entrants, and private and enterprise buildouts that we believe will transform numerous industries.”
Currently, Airspan has more than 1,000 customers throughout 100 countries around the world. With such a large pre-existing customer base, it’s believed Airspan is ready to deliver new 5G and fixed wireless access solutions that could further converge fixed broadband and mobile use cases and operators. Airspan sits in a unique position in the communications equipment market for operators where it could provide high-speed wireless connectivity that could sit atop the industry for the next decade or more.
“Dense, software-centric 5G network builds are crucial for (telecommunication companies) today,” SoftBank Group International President Michel Combes said in a statement. “Airspan’s technology is a key enabler in this space, which is why SoftBank has invested in Airspan over multiple rounds.”
“We are delighted to partner with Airspan, a first mover in this exciting and rapidly expanding new 5G market,” New Beginnings Acquisition Corp. CEO and Director Michael Liebowitz said. “As 5G networks are rolled out, Airspan is leading the way with its breakthrough Open RAN technology with significant potential for growth serving incumbent and emerging carriers, and also addressing new ‘private 5G’ segments including in building 5G, Distributed Antenna System (DAS) building replacements, connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), automated port operations, air-to-ground in-flight connectivity, Smart Industry 4.0 factories and optimized Smart Grid driven utilities. This transaction will bring the vision of Eric and the Airspan team to fruition.”
Joe Dyton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.