Cellnex Buys Altice tower business for €5.2 Billion
Cellnex continued an acquisition spree with a deal to buy Altice Europe’s tower unit Hivory for €5.2 billion. The purchase is set to be bankrolled by another round of shareholder fund raising.
After the deal is finished, it will boost Cellnex’s number of tower sites in France by 10,500, with the company committing to spend an additional €900 million on building 2,500 new sites. Also included in the terms of the deal is a commitment from Altice Europe to lease access to the sites for its SFR operation.
Cellnex’s purchase of Hivory from the latter’s shareholders Altice and Starlight Holdco is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to complete in H2. After building the additional towers, its portfolio will comprise 26,740 sites in France, where it will have deals in place to supply operators Bouygues Telecom, Iliad’s Free Mobile and SFR.
The agreement follows a Europe-wide spending-spree which has seen the tower business buy assets from operators across major markets including Spain and Portugal. Cellnex also has agreements pending regulatory approval to acquire assets from CK Hutchison in Italy and the UK, as part of a bumper €10 billion multi-market deal struck in 2020.
Its latest buy, together with costs from an outstanding deal to integrate its assets in the Netherlands with Deutsche Telekom’s local tower business, will be funded through a €7 billion shareholders rights issue. The move will be the second time within a year Cellnex has tapped shareholders to fund acquisitions, with investors coughing-up €4 billion in August 2020 to part cover the CK Hutchison asset purchase alongside a pending €800 million transaction for a controlling stake in a company managing Play’s towers in Poland.