Bouygues Telecom to sell towers to Antin Infrastructure Partners

French operator Bouygues Telecom is selling 2,166 of its domestic cellular towers to Antin Infrastructure Partners in a deal worth €205 million.

The move follows a continuing trend of sell and lease back deals among telecoms players looking for an alternative way to raise funds.

The first part of the deal saw 1,873 towers sold today and the final closing will be completed in the second quarter of 2013.

A new holding company, France Pylônes Services (FPS), has been created to own and manage the towers, in which Bouygues will retain a 15% stake.

FPS will provide hosting services to Bouygues and other operators and as part of the transaction, the two have entered into a long term master hosting and service agreement.

Bouygues said that it intends to use the proceeds of the sale, amounting to approximately $185 million, to invest in its networks and improve its debt position.

In a similar deal KPN agreed to sell its German mobile tower assets to American Tower Group earlier this month to reduce its debt burden.

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