The Cellnex deal hinges on the EC’s decision regarding the acquisition of Polish operator Play by Iliad
Cellnex is further expanding its European footprint with an agreement with Iliad to acquire a 60% stake in a new company, which will operate 7,000 sites owned by Polish operator Play.
By January, Cellnex had spent more than €6.4 billion (US$7.16 billion) on mobile infrastructure assets in seven countries during an eight-month acquisition frenzy, positioning it as one of Europe’s most prominent infrastructure neutral hosts. Those deals included the acquisition of 1,500 telecommunications sites from Orange Spain, the €800 million ($895 million) acquisition of independent Portuguese towers and sites operator Omtel from Altice Europe (25% stake) and Belmont Infra Holdings (a consortium holding a 75% stake).
The latest deal, though, hinges on the European Commission’s decision regarding Iliad’s proposed takeover of Play, initially announced last month. By October 26, the Commission is expected to either clear the deal or to open a fourth-month investigation to resolve concerns.
The Cellnex and Iliad deal is expected to close by Q2 2021. Cellnex said it plans to invest €800 million ($895 million) in the new company. Further, the new Polish tower company will invest as much as €1.3 billion ($1.5 billion) over the next 10 years to build 5,000 sites, 1,500 of which will be built in partnership with Cellnex.
Iliad will retain ownership of 40% of the new company, resulting a €804 million (US$950 million) boost.
Tobias Martinez, Cellnex CEO called the Polish market “one of the most important countries and economies in Eastern Europe,” citing the fact that it has nearly 40 million people and a relatively well-performing GDP that appears to be “better than that of the EU as a whole.”
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