Altice Portugal has created a new unit called Infratower to facilitate the sale of a number of cell towers to Spanish infrastructure firm Cellnex. According to Jornal de Negocios, the deal comprises 223 macro-sites and 464 micro-sites (small cells) and is valued at EUR209 million (USD245.5 million). When the transaction was approved by the Portuguese Competition Authority (Autoridade da Concorrencia, AdC) on 3 August the unit was simply named as ‘NewCo’, while Cellnex was listed as ‘CLNX Portugal’.
TeleGeography notes that the deal represents the latest in a series of Portuguese transactions for Cellnex. The company made its first move in January 2020, when it signed a EUR800 million agreement to acquire OMTEL from Altice Europe and Belmont Infra Holding. OMTEL was said to operate 3,000 sites in Portugal – around 25% of the overall cell towers in the country at that date. Cellnex went on to acquire 2,000 cell sites from Nos later that year, in a deal worth an initial EUR375 million. Earlier this year, meanwhile, Cellnex acquired 65 towers from Onitelecom (ONI) via OMTEL.
Despite multiple back-to-back deals, the watchdog concluded: ‘In short, the AdC notes that the concentration in question only amounts to in a slight change in market concentration, further strengthening the vertical disintegration of passive infrastructures vis-a-vis MNOs, and consequently, it is concluded that the concentration operation is not susceptible to create significant barriers to effective competition in the market.’