Cellnex continues to snap up European towers, this time from Portuguese operator NOS
Cellnex has been acquiring tower infrastructure at an incredible rate in recent months.
In December last year, it purchased 70% of Iliad’s tower businesses in France and Italy – an enormous acquisition, estimated to be in the region of €2 billion. Soon after, at the start of January, it acquired Portuguese operator OMTEL for around €800 million. By February, the company was reporting revenue of over €1 billion for 2019, as well as a pending fibre network deal with Bouygues Telecom.
Now, the Spanish operator is set to make another Portuguese acquisition, lining up to buy 100% of mobile operator NOS’ infrastructure company, NOS Towering.
The transaction, estimated to be around €375 million, includes around 2,000 sites, with Cellnex planning to add a further 400 over the next six years. This increases Cellnex’s Portuguese portfolio to a total of around 6,000 sites.
Portugal is a particularly attractive market in which to pick up valuable tower infrastructure; the Iberian country has yet to launch 5G, seeing its spectrum auction delayed by the coronavirus outbreak, making tower sites an invaluable asset.
The closure of the deal is, as always, subject to regulatory approval.
Elsewhere in Europe, other operators are displaying mixed strategies towards their tower infrastructure. While many, including major operators like Vodafone and Telefonica, are choosing to shed these assets in favour of quick cash that can be used to fund 5G rollouts, others are signing deals of their own to consolidate their tower infrastructure.
Last month, Bouygues Telecom struck a deal with Phoenix Tower International to build and operate 4,000 tower sites in France. Meanwhile, in Italy, Vodafone has finally received approval to merge its Italian towers with INWIT, a subsidiary of Telecom Italia, thereby creating the country’s largest tower company.
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