01 June 2018
| James Pearce
Idea Cellular has closed the sale of its tower portfolio to American Tower Corp in a deal worth $595 million as it prepares to complete its merger with Vodafone India.
The Indian mobile operator agreed to offload its 9900-strong
portfolio to ATC Telecom Infrastructure – a subsidiary
of American Tower – as part of an effort to raise
funds ahead of its mega merger with Vodafone’s
Indian unit, which is nearing completion.
ATC Telecom Infrastructure – renamed from Viom
following another merger of towercos – also struck a
deal to buy Vodafone’s Indian towers. Both deals
will add 20,000 to its existing portfolio, which is around
Once the Vodafone and Idea merger is completed, 6,300
co-located tenancies of the two operators on the combined
standalone tower portfolio will collapse into single tenancies
over a period of two years without the payment of exit
Part of the deal with ATC sees it and the combined
Vodafone/Idea agreeing to treat each other as long-term
preferred partners, Idea said.
ATC CEO Jim Taiclet said at the
time the deal was announced: "We expect the addition of these
two high quality portfolios to be highly complementary to our
existing assets and to contribute to long-term leasing growth
as India’s leading mobile operators accelerate
their 4G network deployments."
It comes as rumours swirled about ATC agreeing to a deal
worth around $900 million to settle a compensation dispute with
Tata Teleservices for winding up around 30,000 tower
Bharti’s tower unit, Bharti Infratel, is also
set for a mega merger with Indus Towers that would create the
second largest tower company in the world, with over 163,000
towers operating across all 22 Indian telecoms circles.