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Cellnex Starts 2020 With Deal To Buy Towers From Morgan Stanley

Cellnex Telecom SA, the Spanish tower operator that has announced about 7 billion euros ($7.8 billion) of acquisitions since going public in 2015, is making its first deal of the year with the purchase of assets in Portugal.

Cellnex, based in Barcelona, will acquire all of the towers held in a joint venture between Altice Europe NV, Morgan Stanley and Horizon Equity Partners, according to a filing Thursday. The venture, known as OMTEL, operates 3,000 sites across Portugal.

The deal will be paid for in cash and has an enterprise value of 800 million euros, according to the statement. The assets, including the rollout of 400 sites over the next four years, will add 2.5 billion euros to Cellnex sales. The company’s shares rose 2.1% at 9:08 a.m. in Madrid.

The transaction suggests European phone carriers looking to raise funds by monetizing their towers may continue to find demand for the assets in 2020 as they did in 2019. The steady, long-term cash-flow generated by mast operators has attracted private equity, infrastructure funds, and other investors.

It also marks a quick turnaround for the sellers. The joint venture was formed less than 18 months ago when Morgan Stanley and Horizon acquired 75% of Altice’s Portuguese tower unit for an enterprise value of 660 million euros. At the time, Cellnex had shown interest in the assets.

The deal is a “strategic positive” for Cellnex as it expands its footprint, and a “modest positive” for Altice, Andrew Lee, a Goldman Sachs analyst, wrote in a research note.—Yahoo Finance

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