Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Telefonica is the latest to sell towers, strikes $9.4bn deal with American Towers

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Wednesday 13 January 21

The trend of operators selling off their infrastructure continues in 2021, with Telefonica handing over around 30,000 mobile masts

Telefonica has today announced that it has struck a deal with American Towers for the sale of its mobile phone masts in Europe and Latin America. The deal is set to raise $9.4 billion and see over 30,000 mobile towers change hands.   Once the transfer is complete…

Telefonica has today announced that it has struck a deal with American Towers for the sale of its mobile phone masts in Europe and Latin America. The deal is set to raise $9.4 billion and see over 30,000 mobile towers change hands.
 
Once the transfer is complete, American Towers will then lease the infrastructure back to Telefonica.
 
Back in November 2019, Telefonica embarked on a new strategic journey for the company, pulling back from its Latin American holdings (excluding Brazil) and instead focussing on its home markets of Spain, the UK, and Germany. Since then, Telefonica has already begun to pull back from its less profitable markets, including tower sales in Ecuador and Colombia. 
 
This infrastructure sale to American Towers is in keeping with this strategic refocussing, with Telefonica planning to use the funds raised to reduce debt and ultimately refocus on the O2–Virgin Media merger in the UK and the acquisition of Oi in Brazil. 
 
For American Towers, this is the latest in a long line of infrastructure acquisitions over the last year. In November the company acquired InSite Wireless for $3.5 billion, adding around 1,600 towers to their portfolio and breaking into the Canadian market for the first time. The company already has over 180,000 sites worldwide, with the majority in North and South America.
 
In Europe itself, this trend of tower sales continues. Cellnex is proving to be the most important player in this sphere, closing the €10 billion acquisition of CK Hutchison’s European tower assets just a few days ago. The company now owns over 103,000 sites and shows no sign of slowing. 
 
 
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