A joint bid from Canadian investor Brookfield alongside US firm DigitalBridge has secured a 51% stake in Deutsche Telekom’s Germany and Austrian tower unit, Deutsche Funkturm
Today, Deutsche Telekom has announced that it has agreed to sell a majority stake in its tower unit to Brookfield and DigitalBridge, after the pair submitted a late bid of €17.5 billion.
The duo will subsequently own 51% of the tower unit, with Deutsche Telekom retaining the remaining 49%.
"We crystalise the value of our tower assets, thereby creating value for our shareholders," said Deutsche Telekom CEO, Timotheus Höttge, noting that this could open the door for further consolidation of the European tower market.
The unit has roughly 40,600 sites across Germany and Austria, supported by roughly 800 staff.
Deutsche Telekom first began the process of selling a stake in Deutsche Funkturm back in March, initially drawing much interest not only from private equity but from a rival tower companies like Vodafone’s Vantage Towers and Orange’s TOTEM.
In fact, Brookfield itself had initially partnered with Spanish towers giant Cellnex for a bid, but this offer was withdrawn on Wednesday
for undisclosed reasons.
At the time, it appeared to onlookers that the withdrawal by Cellnex left just one suitor in contention for the tower unit: a KKR-led consortium backed by fellow private equity firms Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) and Stonepeak.
However, reports late last night revealed Brookfield’s new bid alongside DigitalBridge, seemingly sweeping the rug from underneath KKR and co at the last moment.
According to Deutsche Telekom, the deal will allow them to reduce their debt pile of roughly €136 billion by around €10.7 billion, as well as helping them fund the further rollout of 5G and fibre in various markets.
In addition, the money will also be used to fund the purchase of further shares in T-Mobile US, with Deutsche Telekom inching ever closer to a controlling stake in the business over the past few years.
Telekom currently owns a 48.4% in the US giant, having paid $2.4 billion to SoftBank Group back in April to increase their stake by 1.7%.
Naturally, the deal with Brookfield and DigitalBridge deal is subject to all the typical regulatory approvals, with an anticipated closing date yet to be announced.
How will this sale affect the German mobile market? Find out from the operators themselves at this year’s live Connected Germany event