Investor interest in mobile tower infrastructure is not letting up, as operators around the world continue to divest of their nigh invaluable passive assets in exchange for quick cash
Today, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has reportedly submitted an offer to the Kingdom’s largest mobile operator, STC, to purchase a majority stake in the latter’s tower unit.
The PIF is seeking to purchase a 51% stake in unit, called Tawal, for an undisclosed sum.
According to STC, the unit has been valued at around $5.8 billion on a cash- and debt-free basis.
Tawal itself was spun off from STC itself back in 2019 and contains roughly 15,000 towers throughout the country.
The move should come as no real surprise. The PIF has been looking to create the Kingdom’s leading tower infrastructure company for some time now, having formed a consortium earlier this year to purchase roughly 8,000 towers from Zain Saudi Arabia for roughly $807 million.
Combined, the tower assets of Zain and Tawal will total over 23,000, giving the PIF the largest tower portfolio in the Saudi Arabia.
As always, the deal is subject to regulatory approval.
In recent years, mobile towers have become a highly attractive asset for investment funds, who view them as a reliable, long-term assets with high potential for growth. Operators, on the other hand, are hungry for capital to pay for their expensive 5G and fibre rollouts, making the high valuations offered for their tower assets particularly enticing.
In other tower-related news this week, European tower giant Cellnex has announced that it has divested of roughly 1,100 towers in the UK as part of the conditions imposed upon it by the Competition and Markets Authority. The move comes almost two yeas after the company struck a nearly €10 billion deal to purchase CK Hutchison’s European tower assets.
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