ATC to acquire tower businesses of Idea, Vodafone for $1.2 bn

by Susie Olson November 14, 2017, 0:44
ATC to acquire tower businesses of Idea, Vodafone for $1.2 bn

American Tower Corp has agreed to buy about 20,000 mobile phone masts for 78.5 billion rupees ($1.2 billion) from Idea Cellular and Vodafone India, who are seeking to merge. "The parties will work together to further the expansion of high-speed mobile networks in India", an official statement read.

The deal follows challenges for the blue-chip telco in India, with the entry of rival Reliance Jio sparking a price war in the country's telecoms market.

Idea will use proceeds from the tower sale to expand 4G coverage as well, Himanshu Kapania, the carrier's managing director, said by phone Monday. Idea would get 40 billion rupees from the deal, while Vodafone will get the remainder, the company said.

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During an exchange filing on Monday, the Idea Cellular said, "The sale of the company's standalone business will be achieved through the sale of the entire shareholding of ICISL (Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services Ltd) by the company comprising 60,000 equity shares of Rs10 each to the purchaser". Reliance Communications, struggling under a $7 billion in debt, has also revived efforts to sell a stake in its tower unit Reliance Infratel, after a prospective deal with Brookfield Asset Management fell apart last month.

Amit Sharma, American Tower's EVP and President, Asia and Chairman of the Board, ATC TIPL, added, "We are extremely pleased to partner with Vodafone and Idea to help expand mobile broadband services across India while furthering our participation in the Digital India initiative".

Vodafone and Idea have a combined portfolio of around 20,000 towers with a combined tenancy ratio of 1.65x as at 30 June 2017. The merger is expected to be completed in 2018. The transaction is expected to take place during the first half of the calendar year 2018.


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