Leighton Holdings sells its majority stake in telecoms assets

Australian construction company Leighton Holdings has sold its majority stake in three telecoms businesses to a Canadian pension fund.

The deal values the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan’s 70% acquisition of Leighton’s telecoms companies at $619.5 million.

The New South Wales-based company will retain a 30% stake in the joint venture pension fund but cedes its controlling stake.

The deal includes data centre operator Metronode, fibre network services provider Nexgen, and cloud and IT services provider Infoplex, which will see Peter McGrath appointed as chief executive of the new business.

"As we work towards separation from Leighton over the coming months, the management team and I will be using this opportunity to ensure the business continues to be flexible, nimble and focussed toward our customers," said McGrath.

Talks between the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Leighton started in February and the deal will be completed after the second quarter of 2013.

The Australian construction giant has endured a tough time recently, following the announcement that it's chairman left the company last week.

Hamish Tyrwhitt, chief executive of the pension fund, said the price represented a “compelling value creating proposition” for shareholders.

"It has the potential to create further value given that we will retain approximately 30% of the businesses and thereby access to the upside value created by the new ownership structure," said Tyrwhitt.

Leighton’s telecoms engineering and maintenance business Visionstream will continue to provide maintenance services to the company.

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