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Tampa telecom firm Syniverse sells $750M minority stake

San Francisco’s Twilio bought the stake after a separate $2.8 billion merger deal fell through.
Tampa telecommunications firm Syniverse has closed on a $750 million investment from San Francisco's Twilio, giving Twilio a minority stake in the company.
Tampa telecommunications firm Syniverse has closed on a $750 million investment from San Francisco's Twilio, giving Twilio a minority stake in the company. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published May 16|Updated May 17

Three months after a proposed $2.8 billion merger that would’ve taken it public fell through, Tampa telecommunications company Syniverse has sold a minority stake for $750 million.

The investment from San Francisco cloud computing company Twilio was announced more than a year ago, but was delayed during merger talks. The companies announced Monday that the deal has finally closed, giving Twilio a significant minority stake in Syniverse.

Syniverse also announced that it had raised an additional $1 billion in new debt financing and $340 million in equity financing. Private equity firm The Carlyle Group will maintain its majority ownership of Syniverse.

“This transaction provides Syniverse with the enhanced liquidity and financial flexibility that will enable us to accelerate investment in innovation, product quality, and breadth to benefit our enterprise and carrier customers around the world,” CEO Andrew Davies said in a statement.

Related: Tampa telecom firm Syniverse's $2.8 billion deal to go public is scrapped

Syniverse, which handles data transfers across mobile and cloud networks, was one of Tampa Bay’s largest public companies before its acquisition by Carlyle in 2011. It would have returned to public trading, with Twilio still owning a significant stake, under a proposed merger with special purpose acquisition company M3-Brigade Acquisition II Corp. That deal fell apart when market conditions prevented M3-Brigade from coming up with the funding for closing, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Twilio has been a longtime partner of Syniverse, using the Tampa company’s technology, which enables text and voice data to travel between businesses, across networks and internationally.

“Today marks a new day for Syniverse and for Carlyle’s investment in the business,” Syniverse chairperson James Attwood, the senior adviser at Carlyle, said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to partner with Syniverse and Twilio to accelerate the next wave of innovation in intelligent connectivity and communications.”

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