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July 13, 2022
Spain's Cellnex Telecom is now an ex-bidder for Deutsche Telekom's tower assets in Germany and Austria.
In a brief statement responding to various media reports, which seemed to originate from Handelsblatt, Cellnex confirmed it was “no longer participating in the process for the potential acquisition of a stake in the company that operates Deutsche Telekom's telecommunications infrastructure in Germany and Austria.”
That company is GD Towers, which comprises Deutsche Funkturm (DFMG) and Magenta Telekom Infra (MTI). DFMG manages around 33,000 towers in Germany, while MTI is in charge of some 7,000 sites.
Cellnex gave no reason for throwing in the towel, although the asking price was probably too rich if it was to compete with a rival deep-pocketed private equity consortium led by KKR, which has reportedly lodged a more attractive offer than the Spanish outfit.
On reports that Cellnex was out of the race, the company's share price was up by nearly 6% in morning trading in Madrid, although it lost much of the gained ground in the afternoon.
The Spanish company had mounted a joint bid with Canadian investment firm Brookfield Asset Management for an undisclosed stake in GD Towers. A minority Cellnex stake for Deutsche Telekom was also on the table, according to Handelsblatt.
By exiting the GD Towers bidding process, Germany remains – at least for the time being – the only major European market where Cellnex has yet to build up a large tower infrastructure presence.
KKR consortium last bidder standing?
Deutsche Telekom – again, according to various media reports – started earnestly canvassing for bids in March with Goldman Sachs appointed as financial advisor.
Since then, various contenders for a stake in Deutsche Telekom's tower business have apparently come and gone, including American Tower and private equity firm DigitalBridge Group.
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Vodafone's Vantage Towers has also been invariably mentioned as a potential tower partner for Deutsche Telekom on a co-control basis.
According to unnamed sources cited by Handelsblatt, however, the KKR, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) and Stonepeak Partners consortium is the only remaining bidder for Deutsche Telekom's tower assets, having submitted a binding offer for what has been described as a "controlling stake."
A Deutsche Telekom decision on its towers, indicated Handelsblatt, could be made this week.
– Ken Wieland, contributing editor, Light Reading
Read more about:Europe
Ken Wieland has been a telecoms journalist and editor for more than 15 years. That includes an eight-year stint as editor of Telecommunications magazine (international edition), three years as editor of Asian Communications, and nearly two years at Informa Telecoms & Media, specialising in mobile broadband. As a freelance telecoms writer Ken has written various industry reports for The Economist Group.
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