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Altice completes sale of €1.57bn stake in FTTH wholesale unit to Morgan Stanley

Patrick Drahi Altice.jpg

Altice Europe has completed the sale of 49.99% of its wholesale fibre operation in Portugal to Morgan Stanley, for an initial price of €1.57 billion.

The new company – formerly Altice Portugal FTTH [fibre to the home] – will be renamed Fastfiber. It will include all of the FTTH and dark fibre assets that belonged to Altice Portugal.

Altice, led by Patrick Drahi (pictured), will own 50.01% of that the company calls “by far the largest FTTH wholesaler in Portugal”. It passed around four million homes with its fibre at the end of 2019.

Subject to Fastfiber’s performance, Morgan Stanley will have to pay a further €375 million at the end of next year and a similar amount at the end of December 2026. The transaction values Fastfiber at €4.6 billion.

Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners has worked with Altice Europe before. In June 2018 its Portuguese operation, PT Portugal – formerly Telecom Portugal – sold a 75% stake in its towers to a consortium including Morgan Stanley and Horizon Equity Partners in a deal giving Towers of Portugal (ToP) unit an enterprise value of €660 million.

When the FTTH deal was announced in December 2019, Drahi said: “This fantastic transaction with our long-standing partners at Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners will accelerate the deleveraging of the group towards its stated leverage target. It will open the way to significant refinancing transactions in 2020 enabling us to accelerate our announced programme of debt interest reduction (target of €0.7 billion annual savings).”