UK investment group Digital 9 Infrastructure has agreed to buy a 48.02% stake in UK masts company Arqiva, which owns close to 1,500 TV and radio broadcast sites throughout the UK.
The digital investment group, which in turn is managed by Triple Point, is buying the stake from Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) for about £459.3 million (US$563 million) in cash and loans. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals.
CPP Investments first acquired a stake in Arqiva in 2009. Other Arqiva shareholders include infrastructure funds Macquarie (25% stake) and IFM (14.8% stake).
Arqiva currently owns 1,450 broadcast transmission sites, satellite ground infrastructure and an IoT platform for smart meter connectivity. The group previously owned more than 7,000 telecom towers, but Cellnex Telecom acquired its telecoms division in 2020.
Following the Cellnex acquisition, Arqiva said it was "fully focused" on strengthening its position as a broadcast and M2M infrastructure solutions provider.
Digital 9 explained that Arqiva is an attractive acquisition for a number of reasons, including its "high quality, blue-chip customer base including the BBC, ITV, Discovery, BT Sport, and Sky."
It added that the investment in Arqiva supports its investment purpose, which aligns to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #9 of enabling connectivity to those unable to access or afford modern Internet access.
Arqiva is also the sole operator of digital terrestrial TV (DTT) and radio infrastructure in the UK. The company recently launched a campaign, Broadband 2040+, to safeguard DTT and broadcast radio.
DTT – better known as Freeview in the UK – is universally available across the country. It doesn't need a broadband connection and there is no additional monthly subscription cost on top of the BBC license fee.
Phil Jordan, chair of Digital 9 Infrastructure, noted that Arqiva "expands the company's exposure to wireless networks and will support the company's total return and yield targets as we continue to build a high-quality portfolio of scalable platforms and technologies."
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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading