Saturday, 28 November 2020

Insatiable: Cellnex eyeing Hutchison towers for €9bn

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Tuesday 27 October 20

Ever hungry for more towers, Cellnex is lining up a huge purchase of European infrastructure, according to sources

After a year of purchase after purchase, one would be forgiven for thinking that Spanish operator Cellnex is satiated, at least for the rest of the year. According to reports, however, you would be wrong, with Cellnex seemingly saving the best for last &ndash…

After a year of purchase after purchase, one would be forgiven for thinking that Spanish operator Cellnex is satiated, at least for the rest of the year. According to reports, however, you would be wrong, with Cellnex seemingly saving the best for last – a €9 billion purchase of CK Hutchison’s entire European tower portfolio. 
 
CK Hutchison was first reported to be looking to sell a minority stake in its European tower unit back in July, but Cellnex is instead going for the entire package, which amounts to some 28,500 masts. The discussion is reportedly in 'advanced talks'.
 
The motivation behind the deal is becoming a familiar story. Hutchison, as the company behind numerous telcos worldwide, is looking to raise cash quickly to reduce debt and help to quickly deploy expensive 5G. Meanwhile, Cellnex is taking the opposite approach, banking on tower assets as effective long term investments. 
 
The acquisition would take Cellnex’s tower portfolio to over 100,000 sites – an impressive feat, considering the company had only around 36,500 at the start of the year. 2020 has been a year of staggering growth for the infrastructure specialist, having scored a range of major tower deals steadily across the year. The latest acquisition occurred just last week, with the company buying around 7,000 towers from Poland’s Play for about €800 million. 
 
With the purchase of Play’s tower infrastructure, Cellnex broke ground in its ninth market; if it acquires the Hutchison towers, it would enter three more, in Austria, Sweden, and Denmark. 
 
 
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