Spanish mobile phone tower operator Cellnex (CLNX.MC) said on Friday it sold a 49% stake in its Swedish and Danish units to infrastructure investor Stonepeak for 730 million euros ($772 million) as part of efforts to reduce its debt.
Cellnex will keep a 51% stake in the holding company that owns all of its businesses in Denmark and Sweden, while Stonepeak will own the remainder, Cellnex said in a statement.
The deal is locked for five years after which each company will have preemptive rights to buy if the other seeks to sell, Cellnex said, adding that after the eighth year Cellnex will have the right to buy back the assets and Stonepeak will have the right to sell to a third party.
The market reacted positively to the news, sending the share price 4.2% up in early trading.
Earlier this year, Cellnex said it was shifting its strategy away from the aggressive acquisition of mobile phone mast networks that made it one of the top players in Europe to focus instead on reducing its debt and obtaining an investment grade from the main rating agencies by the end of next year.
The deal will not change the overall company’s balance sheet, but will have a significant impact on the path to investment grade, Jefferies said in a note to investors.
The transaction is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year.
Investment bank Nomura, Guggenheim Securities and law firm Herbert Smith Freehills advised Stonepeak, while AZ Capital and Baker and McKenzie advised Cellnex.
Separately, Cellnex said deputy CEO Alex Mestre would leave at the end of the year as part of a reshuffle of top management. That includes creating the post of chief operating officer, which will be taken by Simone Battiferri, and a new strategy department which will be headed Vincent Cuvillier.
Source : Reuters