Excelcomindo tower sale hits rocky water

23 May 2008

Excelcomindo’s proposed USD800 million-plus auction of a number of mobile phone towers is looking less certain after private equity firms interested in snapping up the assets expressed concern over the country’s new foreign ownership rules and the mixed messages coming from the operator. Reuters reports sources familiar with the situation as saying that private equity firms Affinity Equity Partners, Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and TPG Capital were in the hunt for a slice of Excelcom’s tower business, but are now getting cold feet. Goldman Sachs was contracted to oversee the auction which was expected to conclude this month. Under the plan, the winner would team up with an Indonesian company to purchase more than 7,000 cell towers, mainly based in Java. However, in March this year the country’s Communications and Information Technology Ministry prohibited foreign investment in companies that build and operate telecoms towers to allow local firms greater participation in the industry.

Indonesia, XL Axiata