American Tower Corporation (ATC) has agreed to purchase a 51% controlling interest in Indian passive infrastructure firm Viom Networks for a total cash consideration of INR76 billion (USD1.17 billion). Under the terms of the deal, SREI Infrastructure Finance will offload its 18.5% stake, whilst Tata Teleservices will retain part of its holding (currently around 54%), as will smaller shareholders Macquarie SBI Infrastructure Investments, SBI Macquarie Infrastructure Trust and IDFC Private Equity Fund. Further, ATC may also acquire, or be required to acquire all or a portion of the remaining 49% stake in the tower company. ATC’s existing portfolio of 14,000 towers will be merged with Viom’s 42,200 towers and 200 indoor antennas.
ATC CEO and Chairman James Taiclet commented on the deal: ‘With a population of nearly 1.3 billion people, rapidly growing smartphone penetration and limited fixed line infrastructure, India’s vibrant wireless industry is poised for a sustained period of network investment. ATC India’s greatly expanded portfolio of towers will enable us to play a key role in providing the communications real estate essential to the deployment of advanced wireless technologies throughout the country and to support the Indian government’s Digital India Initiative.’