Spain’s Cellnex to buy Arqiva’s $2.5bn telecoms unit

Barcelona-based Cellnex said on Tuesday it agreed to buy the telecoms division of Britain’s Arqiva for about $2.5 billion in a move that expands the Spanish company’s phone tower network to more than 50,000 sites across Europe.

This deal brings its portfolio to about 53,000 phone tower sites in Spain, France, Netherlands, the UK, Italy, Switzerland and Ireland.

The wireless infrastructure company said it would launch a rights issue worth 2.5 billion euros in part to fund the deal. 

“The Arqiva Telecoms division acquisition is a key milestone for Cellnex,” said Tobias Martinez, CEO of Cellnex.

“Its strong UK asset-base, revenues and financial profile, combined with its long history at the heart of UK digital infrastructure, make it a perfect addition to our operations.

“This deal will not only add c.8,300 telecom sites to our portfolio but an experienced team that will further strengthen Cellnex’s demonstrated ability to meet its customers requirement.

“I look forward to working with the Arqiva’s Telecoms division team, in order to continue to run the business successfully, assuming new challenges together within the Cellnex project.

“The UK has always been a core component of our inorganic expansion plans.

“This agreement further demonstrates our commitment and confidence in the UK market as we look ahead to further opportunities.

“It provides a significant opportunity for the development of a mobile network fit to match the country’s ambitions.

“We are ideally placed to bring our operational expertise and innovative approach to bear in a context where the Government and regulators are looking to encourage greater connectivity for all citizens and businesses through network development.”

Simon Beresford-Wylie, CEO of Arqiva said: “This agreement provides both stability and a focus for our future as we concentrate on the provision of broadcast infrastructure, end-to-end networks and connectivity solutions for our TV and radio customers, international content owners, data network providers and utilities.

“The majority of proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce debt, thereby providing a solid financial base for Arqiva and its shareholders to invest in the future of the UK’s terrestrial TV and radio platforms as well as its data networks and capability.

“The deal will see a number of colleagues transfer to Cellnex, which I am confident will be an excellent owner for the business.

“I am sure that it will continue to go from strength to strength under their stewardship.”