The French Competition Authority (Autorite de la Concurrence) has approved the sale of Iliad Group’s telecom towers in France to Spanish infrastructure group Cellnex. Under the deal, Cellnex will acquire Iliad 7, the subsidiary that manages Iliad’s 5,700 domestic towers. The deal is valued at EUR2 billion (USD2.2 billion). Thomas Reynaud, Iliad’s CEO, previously said: ‘This transaction is part of a long term industrial strategy allowing us to accelerate [the] rollout of our 4G and 5G networks and to increase Iliad’s investment leeway … It enables more efficient infrastructure rollouts in the future, while meeting the challenges of further increasing territory coverage.’ Cellnex already operates 2,000 mobile towers in France, which it purchased for EUR700 million back in 2016/17 from Bouygues Telecom.
Elsewhere, Iliad Group has entered into exclusive talks with French private equity firm InfraVia to set up a partnership aimed at accelerating fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) rollouts outside very-densely populated areas of France (representing around 26 million lines). Under the agreement, Iliad will establish a new infrastructure company to manage its fibre lines, and will transfer 51% of the new entity to InfraVia for an enterprise value of EUR600 million. The infrastructure company will then enter into a ‘very long term service agreement’ with Iliad, under which it will provide all access and information services for the co-financed sockets to Iliad and other third-party operators. The deal is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019.