Wireless infrastructure operator Cellnex Telecom sealed a deal to acquire UK-based Arqiva’s telecoms division, a move it stated will make it the largest independent tower operator in the country.
The £2 billion deal is expected to close in H2 2020 and will see Spain-based Cellnex Telecom take full ownership of Arqiva’s 7,400 UK sites, marketing rights to a further 900 sites and concessions to access street furniture in 14 London boroughs, which the company said is a “key element” for network expansion and densification.
Cellnex Telecom forecast the assets acquired will generate £170 million in annual adjusted EBITDA in 2020. Once completed, the company will have access to a total of 53,000 sites across seven European markets.
It is funding the deal through a mix of cash and a syndicated loan.
In a statement, CEO Tobias Martinez hailed the acquisition as a milestone, giving the company a stronger foothold in the UK, which is “a core component” of its inorganic expansion plans.
“This agreement further demonstrates our commitment and confidence in the UK market as we look ahead to further opportunities.”
The executive cited Arqiva’s “strong UK asset-base, revenues and financial profile, combined with its long history at the heart of UK digital infrastructure,” as factors in Cellnex Telecom’s move.
Arqiva CEO Simon Beresford-Wylie said it will use the bulk of the sale proceeds to reduce debt, and to invest in TV and radio platforms.
“This agreement provides both stability and a focus for our future as we concentrate on the provision of broadcast infrastructure, end-to-end networks and connectivity solutions for our TV and radio customers, international content owners, data network providers and utilities”.
In June, Cellnex Telecom bought the operating rights to 220 towers from BT for a period of 20 years.-Mobile World Live