Spain's Cellnex to buy Arqiva's telecoms division in $2.5 bln deal

Cellnex has agreed to buy the telecoms division of Britain’s Arqiva for 2 billion pounds ($2.5 billion), expanding the Spanish company’s phone tower network to more than 50,000 sites across Europe.

The wireless infrastructure company whose shares rose 3% in morning trade to hit a record high, said it would launch a rights issue worth 2.5 billion euros ($2.75 billion) in part to fund the deal.

The transaction gives it about 7,400 owned sites and the rights to market about 900 additional sites across Britain.

Cellnex has snapped up tens of thousands of phone tower sites in Europe in the past three years, making the Barcelona-based company a key player in the consolidation of the telecoms infrastructure market.

This deal brings its portfolio to about 53,000 sites in Spain, France, Netherlands, Britain, Italy, Switzerland and Ireland.

Cellnex Chief Executive Tobias Martinez said Arqiva’s “strong UK asset-base, revenues and financial profile, combined with its long history at the heart of UK digital infrastructure, make it a perfect addition to our operations”.

Arqiva, whose main investors include Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Macquarie, intends to use most of the proceeds to pay down debt.

But CPPIB and Macquarie resumed efforts to cash out earlier this year and started looking into a possible break up of the company.

Arqiva’s portfolio consists of sought-after telecom towers as well as traditional broadcasting masts whose future is challenged by digital technologies and online streaming.

Cellnex in turn wanted to sign a deal and secure the financing before the Brexit deadline on Oct. 31, the source said.

Cellnex is seeking to raise 2.5 billion euros from its shareholders, offering 9 shares for every 31 shares held by investors at 28.85 euros each.


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