MVP Capital has provided investment banking advisory services for companies of all sizes and stages – from bootstrapped entrepreneurs to established corporations – in the telecom, media, towers, and technology industries for three decades. While MVP does not provide capital, the company works with private groups and strategic partners on its clients’ behalf to help them get their projects funded.
Connected Real Estate Magazine recently spoke with MVP Capital’s Managing Director Clayton Funk and Vice President Sean Hew about how the company operates, its experience in the CRE arena, industry challenges they face, some of their key transactions and more.
Connected Real Estate Magazine: What does MVP do in the wireless space? How much experience does the company have in this arena?
MVP Capital: MVP Capital is a boutique investment banking firm that has been around for more than 30 years helping asset owners, business operators and service providers within the telecom infrastructure space to sell their entire business or a subset of assets or raise capital to grow their business and build new assets. We primarily work with companies that own, operate, or service wireless towers, fiber networks, data centers, spectrum, DAS and/or small cells. As a firm, we have averaged nearly 50 transactions a year and keep a constant dialogue with buyers and investors within our industries.
Sometimes we help companies long before a transaction actually takes place. We have a deep understanding of what investors and buyers look for in a potential transaction and we will sometimes advise our clients on holding off on taking action until they accomplish certain milestones.
Connected: In terms of timing, are you finding a lot of the deals MVP Capital handles exist in long sales cycles? How long does it typically take to close a deal?
MVP: Sometimes we help companies long before a transaction actually takes place. We have a deep understanding of what investors and buyers look for in a potential transaction and we will sometimes advise our clients on holding off on taking action until they accomplish certain milestones. However, once a client determines it is time to go to market, it generally takes approximately six months to get a transaction closed. Unless there is a certain factor driving for a quick process, such as obtaining capital to fund an immediate project or to sell by a certain time for tax reasons, we generally advise clients to not rush a process so that they may get the greatest variety of options and drive the most interest from buyers and investors. However, with that said, we have also had special situations that dictated an abnormally accelerated process where we have closed within as little as two months, from hiring MVP to closing a deal.
If someone has a huge contract with Jones Lang LaSalle or someone who has a large inventory of buildings that needs coverage and has to deploy $100 million in six months because JLL is going to be the anchor tenant, we could do that. However, that’s usually not the case. It’s usually someone tackling one or two facilities at a time, and maybe getting a third and then a fourth—ideally we’d be meeting with them sooner than later. That’s also our job to get out there and meet some of these management teams, see who they are—maybe an integrator who’s looking to leave or pivot from that role to being an owner or operator.
Connected: What are some deals that MVP has done in the DAS and indoor arenas?
MVP: MVP has made DAS and in-building connectivity a focus in recent years, and we are arguably the most active investment bank in the space. We believe the DAS and in-building connectivity industry is where the cell tower industry was 20 years ago. The in-building space has a lot of the same investment characteristics and positive industry tailwinds that has historically supported the tower industry, but with more greenfield growth opportunity given the total addressable market has been barely penetrated. We have worked on five transactions within the DAS industry over the last two years, successfully raising anywhere from $40 to $100 million for each of our clients in the space. A few select examples include MVP helping Quantum Wireless secure funding from Peppertree Capital, Stratto (now known as StrattoOpencell) receive an investment from Digital Colony and DAS Communications being recapitalized by MC Partners.
Connected: What makes MVP unique when it comes to helping firms that need help structuring deals or making the finances work for their clients?
MVP: MVP has a team of more than 30 investment bankers solely focused on providing M&A and capital raising advice and analysis for our clients in the specialized industries we cover. Our team’s focus, that in some cases goes back over three decades, on very specialized areas gives us industry expertise that clients find incredibly valuable. Our processes have consistently yielded attractive results for our clients, giving them a variety of financing options to choose from and strong valuations.
Additionally, we begin advising and providing perspective to many of our clients years before they contemplate a transaction, helping them think through available opportunities and strategic initiatives that would effect an eventual transaction. We pride ourselves in not only being industry experts, but also being longterm trusted partners with our clients. One of MVP Capital’s core values is strongly believing in building longterm relationships over churning out transactions.
If you need to ever hire someone to help you find $30, $50 or a $100 million to build your in-building network, MVP Capital is the company to do it.
Connected: What kind of vendors does MVP usually deal with? (i.e Integrators, Engineers, OEMS, consultants)
MVP: We have relationships throughout the industry and work with a wide variety of parties. The majority of the time we work with neutral host providers or with integrators or engineering firms that have the opportunity to own assets. However, we have also done transactions with clients that provide integration, engineering and managed services for the industry. We are always happy to make referrals or introductions to consultants and other providers in the space if we can be of assistance.
Connected: Do you find the industry climate to be challenging at this time? If so, how?
MVP: Currently, there is an abundance of capital and a plethora of capital providers, yet a lack of investment opportunities. Over the last couple of years, across all of our sectors, we are seeing greater participation from investors and buyers in our processes at increasingly high valuations. This is due to the influx of capital being invested into Telecom Infrastructure from private equity funds, strategic parties, family offices and infrastructure funds. Recently, private equity firms have been outbid in traditional telecom asset classes such as towers and fiber and, as a result, have looked towards investing in the development of similar assets such as DAS and in-building connectivity and companies that provides services in these sectors of the ecosystem. The market continues to have strong industry tailwinds and has been robust the last several years and MVP sees no reason why that would change.
Connected: How does public safety fit into MVP’s ecosystem?
MVP: Many of MVP’s clients are aware of the needs pertaining to public safety and are ready to assist as needed, particularly on the in-building side—as long as it makes financial sense for everyone involved. MVP’s clients are rarely solely public safety focused but do sometimes provide Public Safety services as a portion of their business.
Connected: What else would you like our audience to know about MVP Capital?
MVP: If you need to ever hire someone to help you find $30, $50 or a $100 million to build your in-building network, MVP Capital is the company to do it. And when you build enough of these and want to sell them, MVP Capital has the experience and process to help you maximize the value of your asset and/or business.