Hogan Lovells advises DIF Capital Partners on fibre build out joint venture

Hogan Lovells advises DIF Capital Partners on fibre build out joint venture

Press releases | 28 November 2022

Led by Frankfurt partners Alexander Stefan Rieger and Jörg Herwig, global law firm Hogan Lovells has advised leading infrastructure fund manager DIF Capital Partners (DIF) on the acquisition of a majority stake in ruhrfibre, a joint venture to build out a fibre optics network in Essen (Germany) targeting 150,000 households. Alongside DIF, the joint venture is formed by project developer metrofibre and the City of Essen as strategic partner. DIF through its CIF III fund, will contribute in particular the funding for the execution of the build out.

The structure of the investment is a first of its kind in the German fiber market, where the number of urban fibre connections is still low and rollout in larger cities so far has not been attracting substantial private investments. The project aims at connecting private households as well as public and business customers to fibre-to-the-home and is a game changer to the City of Essen in the industrial Ruhr-area both in terms of its economic advancement and development into a smart city. 

Currently, Germany ranks 34th in terms of fibre penetration with only four OECD countries having a lower rate. Essen is a prime example that undersupply in Germany does not only occur in rural, but also in urban areas, with currently only 5% of households having fibre connections available. 

The completion of the transaction is subject to antitrust approval.

Alexander Stefan Rieger added:

"Despite the high activity levels we have seen in the German fibre market in recent years, this transaction marks a good example of continuous demand for the implementation of feasible greenfield fibre investments in underserved urban areas."

Hogan Lovells advised DIF Capital Partners on all legal aspects of this transaction.

Hogan Lovells Team for DIF Capital Partners

Dr Alexander Stefan Rieger (Partner), Johannes Groß (Senior Associate), Pascal Wagenführ, Dr Joscha Müller, Julian Schmidt (Associates), Janina Fey (Paralegal) (all Infrastructure M&A, Frankfurt);

Dr Jörg Herwig (Partner), Jennifer Hofmann, Konstantin Weber (Associates) (all Private Equity, Frankfurt);

Dr Mathias Schönhaus (Partner), Anja Brunthaler (Senior Associate) Constantin Cramer (Associate) (all Tax, Dusseldorf);

Dr Carla Luh (Partner, Infrastructure Finance, Hamburg);

Dr Kerstin Neighbour (Partner), Dr Sabrina Gäbeler (Counsel), Dr Charlotte Baecker, Sophia Gottschlich (Associates) (all Employment, Frankfurt);

Prof Dr Thomas Dünchheim (Partner), Dr Adrian Rudert (Associate) (both Regulatory, Dusseldorf);

Dr Marc Schweda (Partner), Dr Stefan Küster (Associate) (both Antitrust, Hamburg).