Lightstorm has acquired stakes in three subsea cables in the Pacific connecting the US to Japan and Australia.

The Asian network infrastructure firm owned by I Squared Capital this week announced it has signed asset purchase agreements with court-appointed receivers in both Delaware and Singapore to acquire the previously RTI-owned JGA-North cable as well as “significant portions” of the JGA-South and SEA-US cable systems.

RTI cables

While the receivers will continue managing the companies during the transition period, Lightstorm’s David Zimmer has been appointed interim CEO to assist with day-to-day operations in the meantime.

The deals are set to close later this year, pending regulatory approval. Terms were not shared.

The acquired three cables have a total length of 21,000km and 64Tbps allocated capacity, connecting the US, Guam, Japan, and Australia.

The Japan-Guam-Australia North (JGA-N) entered service in July 2020; the 2,700km cable connects Guam to Japan. The southern portion of the cable, known as JGA-S, entered service the same year and links Guam to Queensland and New South Wales in Australia.

While RTI solely owned the northern portion, the southern cable was developed by a consortium including AARNet and Google.

Launched around 2017, the Southeast Asia-United States (SEA-US) cable spans 11,100km connecting Guam to Los Angeles, California, via Honolulu, Hawaii. As well as RTI, the consortium for the cable includes GTA TeleGuam, Globe Telecom, Hawaiian Telcom, and Telin.

CommsDay first reported RTI and its assets had been placed into receivership under Kroll Singapore by its financiers in October 2023. The publication said at the time the debt owed to the banks had been sold for an unknown amount to I Squared Capital.

"We are thrilled to integrate these high-value subsea cables into our platform,” said Amajit Gupta, CEO and MD of Lightstorm Group. “This acquisition will fortify our position as a leading cloud network infrastructure provider and expand our geographic presence and service offerings by linking through expanded subsea assets such as this cable system. We are excited to build upon RTI Cable’s extraordinary achievements and wish Russ well in his future endeavors.”

RTI had been in a long-running legal dispute with Gateway Network Connections (GNC) dating back to 2021.

GNC is a cable landing station and data center hosting both JGA cables as well as the SEA-US cable, and is owned by Asia Connectivity Elements (ACE) and GTA Teleguam. Etix Everywhere had previously owned a stake in the venture, while RTI was also previously an investor.

“I Squared Capital portfolio companies already operate a formidable global network, and their acquisition of leading subsea cables positions the Lightstorm Group for unprecedented future growth” added RTI Cable’s founder and former CEO Russ Matulich. “It is a privilege to have worked alongside many of the industry’s best to achieve something more important than ourselves, and I look forward to celebrating their future achievements.”

Lightstorm launched in 2020 with its SmartNet fiber network in India, which now spans seven cities and ~24,000 km, connected to around 60 data centers. The company is also expanding into Indonesia with 1,000 km of fiber connecting around 40 data centers in Greater Jakarta.

I Squared Capital’s other digital infrastructure investments include BDx in APAC, nLighten in Europe, Exa Infrastructure, Kio in Latin America, and several tower firms.