Altice to sell Infratower unit to Cellnex

25 Aug 2021

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.’

Portugal, Altice Europe, Cellnex Telecom, PT Portugal (MEO)