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September 29, 2023
Investment firm Stonepeak has reached am agreement with towerco Cellnex to acquire a 49% interest in Cellnex Sweden and Cellnex Denmark for €730 million.
Cellnex will continue to manage the day-to-day business of Cellnex Nordics, we’re told. Cellnex Nordics, which the operations in Sweeden and Denmark are conglomerated as, operates 4,557 sites, and holds commitments and options to build around 2,500 more in the region.
The deal will have to go through regulatory approvals next, but is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2024 at the latest. Cellnex will use the cash injection to reduce its debt, as part of an ambition to achieve an investment grade credit rating by S&P.
“The sale of a stake in our Nordic business at an appropriate valuation marks another significant step forward in our goal to attain investment grade ratings,” said Marco Patuano, Cellnex CEO. “The agreement with Stonepeak shows Cellnex’s ability to attract the interest of high-quality financial partners who understand and value the inherent quality of the assets as well as the future opportunities in these markets.”
Cyrus Gentry, Stonepeak Managing Director, added: “We believe Cellnex Nordics, as the region’s leading independent tower company, is strategically well positioned to capture outsized organic and inorganic growth over the coming years. We view partnering with Cellnex, with its consistent track record of financial performance, execution on built-to-suit delivery, and mergers and acquisitions, as a natural fit for Stonepeak’s Core infrastructure strategy. We look forward to working closely with the Cellnex team to help further their strategic objectives in both Sweden and Denmark.”
Providing some analysis on the deal, Jeffries Equity Research stated: “Today’s news of a minority stake sale in the Nordic assets is consistent with the tone and intent of the new Cellnex CEO since taking the seat in June: the proceeds are to be used to realise the primary goal of attaining S&P investment grade; the premium valuation is consistent with the CEO’s insistence that any asset sales would only be considered if the offer recognised the quality of the assets. The impact on leverage isn’t material enough to re-shape the balance sheet, but is material enough to support the IG goal. We expect a positive response from the equity today.”
It was announced earlier this year that Cellnex CEO Tobias Martinez would be and replaced by Marco Patuano. The comms on the matter appeared to confirm that the plan going forward with the new CEO was a more conservative period of consolidation, following an 8 year tear of tower acquisitions across Europe.
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