UPDATE American Tower (NYSE:AMT) is considering a bid for a stake in Vodafone’s (NASDAQ:VOD) Vantage Towers wireless infrastructure unit, Bloomberg News reports. Spain’s Cellnex Telecom also may be weighing a bid for the nearly $13 billion unit, according to the report.
Following a successful initial public offering, Vodafone listed Vantage Towers on the Frankfurt, Germany stock exchange in 2021, as Inside Towers reported. Vodafone plans to sell part of its roughly 82 percent interest in Vantage Towers and has invited suitors to participate in an auction process. Private equity firms KKR & Co., Global Infrastructure Partners and EQT AB are already in the running, Bloomberg reported last month. DigitalBridge Group (NYSE: DBRG) is a minority investor in Vantage Towers.
Europe’s telecom companies are selling off infrastructure assets to raise money for investments in costly fiber-optic rollouts and wireless network upgrades, as well as to cut their large debt piles. These infrastructure assets, which carriers once considered vital to their business models, are attractive to investment firms thanks to their steady, predictable returns.
In July, Deutsche Telekom AG agreed to sell a majority stake in its GD Towers unit to Brookfield Asset Management and DigitalBridge Group in a deal valuing the business at $17 billion, Inside Towers reported. Cellnex was also bidding for the asset before dropping out.
Vodafone CEO Nick Read has gone on record saying that the company prefers a merger of Vantage Towers with another tower company that is “a like-minded player, a like-minded operator.”