On Tuesday, private equity behemoth Blackstone announced private equity funds affiliated with its energy-focused subsidiary, Blackstone Energy Partners, have agreed to acquire Texas utility and telecom infrastructure company Sabre Industries. Sabre is the leading manufacturer of power delivery structures in the United States. The seller is The Jordan Company.
Based in Alvarado, TX, Sabre designs and manufacturers highly-engineered, mission-critical overhead steel poles, towers, battery storage solutions, and related services for electrical utility and telecom end markets.
Blackstone noted that the products and services Sabre delivers to its customers are “critical to modernizing and strengthening the U.S. electrical transmission and distribution grid, safely and efficiently interconnecting rapidly-growing renewable generation capacity and battery storage facilities, and expanding 4G and 5G wireless telecom infrastructure for enhanced network reliability and connectivity.”
Following the acquisition, Sabre will retain its name and continue to operate independently as a Blackstone portfolio company. The leadership team and employees will remain in their current roles and reportedly plan to invest alongside Blackstone in the transaction.
“We are excited about investing in Sabre, as the company is well-positioned to benefit from increasing investment by electrical utilities and telecom industry participants in their network infrastructure, it has longstanding customer relationships, and it has a truly outstanding management team which has delivered a track record of industry-leading safety, customer satisfaction, and profitable growth,” Blackstone Senior Managing Director John-Paul (JP) Munfa, said in a statement on the deal.
“Our investment in Sabre builds upon Blackstone’s experience of prior investments in utility-related businesses, such as GridLiance [which later sold to NextEra – ed.] and Custom Truck One Source,” he added.
Data from Sabre Industries sourced from The Brattle estimates that the U.S. will require investments ranging from $230-690 billion by 2050 to maintain the reliability of its electrical infrastructure. Electricity demand is increasing alongside greater requirements for wireless and telecom infrastructure as well.
“Sabre is the most recent in a series of investments by Blackstone Energy Partners in critical energy infrastructure and essential services needed to help deliver cleaner, more reliable and affordable energy, and an example of Blackstone’s ongoing commitment to invest in the entrepreneurs and businesses who will help lead America’s energy transition,” Blackstone Energy Partners Global Head David Foley.
Sabre CEO Jim Ruddy, CEO of Sabre, said: “Our leadership team is very excited to be partnering with Blackstone, a leading investor in energy and infrastructure related end markets. We believe Blackstone will be an excellent strategic partner and will help the company accelerate its growth, while continuing to provide high-quality products and services that will assist in modernizing the U.S. electrical grid and in enhancing wireless telecom networks. We would also like to thank The Jordan Company, which has been a great partner and supported the company with financial and operational resources as it grew into an industry leader.”
In conjunction with Blackstone’s acquisition of Sabre, Dr. Ulrich Spiesshofer, the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Swiss-based engineering multinational ABB Ltd. and a Blackstone Senior Advisor, who brings decades of executive experience as a global leader in energy, industry, and infrastructure end markets, has agreed to be appointed Chairperson of Sabre’s Board following the closing.
Dr. Spiesshofer said: “Sabre’s unique business model and outstanding customer service positions it ideally as a long-term partner for utility and telecommunications customers. Together with my colleagues at Blackstone, I look forward to partnering with Sabre’s employees and its excellent leadership team led by CEO Jim Ruddy as we embark jointly upon Sabre’s next phase of profitable growth.”