Bharti Airtel, the country’s largest mobile operator by revenue and subscribers, will sell its 4,800 telecom towers in Nigeria to American Tower Corp for about $1 billion.
Following the deal, Bharti Airtel will be the anchor tenant for American Tower Corp for an initial term of 10 years, the companies said in a joint statement.
“Nigeria is the largest mobile market in Africa and a key one for Airtel. This agreement will provide us with considerable cost efficiencies and at the same time allows us to sharpen our focus on the customer,” said Bharti Airtel Africa Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Christian de Faria.
The agreement will allow Airtel to focus on its core business and customers, enable it to de-leverage through debt reduction and reduce its ongoing capital expenditure on passive infrastructure in Nigeria. The agreement was signed through Bharti Airtel’s subsidiary Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV.
“With the largest population and economy in Africa and relatively underdeveloped wireless infrastructure, we view Nigeria as a tremendous growth opportunity,” said Jim Taiclet, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Tower.
Long-term strategy “Further, we expect this investment to support our long-term objective of generating double-digit adjusted funds from operations … for our stockholders,” he added.
This deal will enable American Tower Corp, which has a worldwide portfolio of about 70,000 communication sites, to launch its operations in Nigeria, Taiclet added.
The companies expect to close the acquisition, which is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval, during the first half of 2015.