American Tower inks $523m deal with MTN for stakes in Ghana and Uganda towers

13 January 2020 | Natalie Bannerman

Cover

American Tower has reached an agreement for the acquisition of MTN’s 49% stakes in the company’s joint ventures in Ghana and Uganda.

Valued at approximately $523 million, the deal is due to close Q3 2020 subject to the standard regulatory conditions and will result in a ‘one-time impact for America Tower’ costing close to $65 million for the year from the payment of previously deferred case interest related to joint venture debt.

Speaking to Matthew Edwards, head of research, EMEA at TowerXchange, he says that the news of American Tower buying out MTN’s stake in its tower assets “deal will mark the end of mobile operators retaining an equity stake in their towercos, with the practice now dying out in Africa.”

“Although towers are an important operational component of MTN’s business, the investments in existing tower companies have run their course, and realised a healthy return, but are not viewed as long-term strategic holdings for MTN, hence its sale to American Tower,” he added.

The news follows American Towers’ completion of its purchase of Eaton Towers Holdings which will add 5,700 communications sites to its African portfolio. The total cost of the deal which includes Eaton Towers’ existing debt and any post transaction adjustments, was approximately $1.85 billion.

“The acquisition of Eaton and the unwinding of the joint venture helps to simplify one of Africa’s more diverse telecoms sectors, “continued Edwards. “Including sites built by Eaton Tower since our last market update in May 2019, we believe American Tower now owns 3,820 sites in Ghana.” To learn more about the MTN/American Tower deal from Edwards, head over to TowerXchange to read the full analysis. 

In related news, last week American Tower announced plans to raise approximately $1,483 billion from the issuing of senior unsecured notes in 2025 and 2030. The funds will be used by American Tower to pay down its debts of $2.25 billion.