By Anne Morris
Deutsche Telekom reportedly started the sales process for its mobile towers business as part of broader efforts to maximise the value of its infrastructure assets.
Reuters reported the Germany-headquartered operator is working with Goldman Sachs as adviser in the sale of its 40,600 masts, which the news outlet’s sources suggest could fetch up to €18 billion(US$19.7billion).
A Deutsche Telekom representative told Mobile World Live the group will not comment on any speculation, but noted it is open to various options on the tower assets.
In late 2021, Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hoettges told an investor conference he was interested in finding a partner for its tower business. German media later reported the operator would begin exploring a sale of the assets early this year.
Spain-based tower company Cellnex and America Tower have been cited as potential buyers, in addition to private equity groups or competitor operator tower businesses including Vodafone Group’s Vantage Towers and Orange’s Totem.
Bloomberg reported in January that Deutsche Telekom had held talks with Vodafone and Orange regarding potential tower tie-ups.
Reuters noted Vodafone CEO Nick Read last month stated the next step for Vantage Towers should be a merger. Outgoing Orange chairman and CEO Stephane Richard has also flagged the possibility of linking Totem with another operator in Europe.
Deutsche Telekom owns infrastructure in several European countries, with by far the largest concentration in Germany, where it has almost 33,000 towers. Subsidiary GD Towers holds the domestic sites along with 7,000 in Austria.
Tower spin-offs are an attractive option for operators because the independent units can lease space to multiple operators. Others have pursued sales to generate income from the assets.