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Vodafone forms JV with GIP and KKR for Vantage Towers

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Vodafone Group has entered into a partnership with a consortium of infrastructure investors led by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) and KKR for Vodafone’s 81.7% stake in Vantage Towers.

“This is a landmark moment for both Vodafone and Vantage Towers. This transaction successfully delivers on Vodafone’s stated aims of retaining co-control over a strategically important asset, deconsolidating Vantage Towers from our balance sheet to ensure we can optimise its capital structure and generate substantial upfront cash proceeds for the Group to support our priority of deleveraging," said Nick Read, chief executive of Vodafone Group.

"We are excited to partner with GIP and KKR, both world-class investors who bring significant expertise in digital infrastructure and share our long-term vision for Vantage Towers as we collectively take the business to the next stage of its growth.”

Under the terms of the partnership, Vodafone and the Consortium have created a joint venture (JV) which will hold Vodafone’s 81.7% stake in Vantage Towers. Vodafone will contribute its shares in Vantage Towers into the joint venture by way of a capital increase against new joint venture shares. The Consortium will acquire a 50% shareholding in the joint venture by acquiring joint venture shares from Vodafone for cash.

“We’re delighted to join forces with Vodafone and KKR to invest in Vantage Towers, a high-quality European tower portfolio with strong upside potential. We are looking forward to capturing the exciting value-creating opportunities in the European telecoms infrastructure sector by advancing Vantage Towers’ strategy and supporting its capacity to build new sites," said Will Brilliant, partner and head of digital infrastructure at GIP.

"As strategic partners with Vodafone and KKR, we will bring our deep infrastructure expertise and resources to help the company deliver the best data connectivity for individuals and businesses and contribute to enabling Europe’s digital future in the interest of all stakeholders.”

At the same time, the joint venture will make a voluntary takeover offer for the outstanding Vantage Towers shares held by minority shareholders. Completion of the voluntary takeover offer is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory approval for the partnership between Vodafone and the Consortium.

“Together with our strategic partners Vodafone and GIP, we believe Vantage Towers’ high-quality footprint and network across the region ideally position it to meet the ever-growing demand for mobile connectivity in Europe," added Vincent Policard, partner and co-head of european infrastructure at KKR.

"We have a shared goal of creating a pan-European telecoms champion by continuing to grow and develop the business, leveraging the Consortium’s significant telecoms infrastructure investment experience and global resources. At KKR we are long-term conviction investors in Europe’s digital infrastructure and at Vantage Towers we intend to pursue value-creating investments to capitalise on the growth in this sector and to help drive consolidation in a fragmented market.”