American Tower Moves into Nigeria


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American Tower was busy last week. On Friday, the announced their acquisition in Brazil,  and yesterday, the company reported they had entered into a definitive agreement with Bharti Airtel International for the sale of over 4,8000 communication towers in Nigeria. Airtel will be the anchor tenant on the portfolio under a lease with a ten-year initial term. “We are pleased to announce the launch of our operations in Nigeria while expanding our relationship with Airtel, one of the leading multinational operators in the world,” said Jim Taiclet, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Tower. “With the largest population and economy in Africa and relatively underdeveloped wireless infrastructure, we view Nigeria as a tremendous growth opportunity. Further, we expect this investment to support our long-term objective of generating double-digit AFFO per share growth for our stockholders.” Colby Synesael of Cowen and Company reported that the firm views these acquisitions positively as they align with AMT’s international expansion strategy and their goal to sustain double-digit AFFO growth. “The deal marks the seventh acquisition by a U.S. carrier in Brazil since December 2012 and the third for American. When we attended American’s International Event in Sao Paulo last December, we came away bullish on macro and secular trends in the region especially as the company looks to scale,” Synesael explained. “. Also worth noting, while we had already come away from the NAREIT conference thinking that the probability of acquiring Verizon towers were lower, these announcements make the likelihood of a transaction even less so at this time considering removing American as one of the key bidders would likely limit the value in which Verizon is likely looking for. To this point while a few steps removed we ironically view this announcement as positive for Crown Castle as well.”

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