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Latest on Vimpelcom, Telefónica, Turkcell, CETIN, Arqiva and more

Czech Republic: Shares of CETIN cease trading on the Prague Stock Exchange

Since 4th January 2016, trading of CETIN shares on the unregulated market of the Prague Stock Exchange has been terminated following a squeeze out of minority shareholders at the General Meeting in December 2015. The company was listed by independent parties in June of last year with it never being an intention of PPF to list the company. As of 4th January, CETIN is now wholly owned by PPF, the Czech investment company  who bought O2 Czech Republic from Telefonica.

Ireland: Ireland launches its National Broadband Plan

Ireland have launched their long anticipated National Broadband Plan to upgrade minimum download speeds in rural areas from 1.2MB to 30MB – creating a real step change in broadband provision to rural areas. Details of the plan, which will cover 750,000 premises, are still to be finalised however both a fibre and wireless component are expected to play a significant role.

Italy: Telecom Italia receives three offers for the sale of a 45% stake in Inwit

American Tower Corporation is the latest company revealed to have placed an offer to acquire a 45% stake in Telecom Italia’s infrastructure business, Inwit. The other two named bidders are Spanish towerco, Cellnex, in conjunction with Italian infrastructure fund F2i and Italian broadcast towerco, EI Towers. Telecom Italia, who earlier in 2015 sold a 40% stake through a listing on the Milan Stock Exchange, hopes to complete the transaction by June of this year.

Italy: Inwit acquires 76 towers in Lombardy

Inwit are not standing still whilst negotiating the sale of 45% equity. Instead they recently announced the acquisition of 76 sites, primarily in Brescia, through the acquisition of Gestione Due, Gestione Immobili and Revi Immobili for a total of €7.9mn.

Poland: Orange rumoured to be evaluating tower sales Poland

Rumours are circulating surrounding a potential sale of Orange towers in Poland with a review of its other European assets also underway. As one of Orange’s largest markets on the continent, they own an estimated 4,892 towers in the country, Orange are thought to be reconsidering the ownership of their own infrastructure. Although no formal announcement has yet been made regarding a sale, Orange is said to be working with Lazard, their preferred advisors, to investigate such a transaction.

Russia: Russian Towers, Vertical and Russian Direct Investment Fund shortlisted in sale of Vimpelcom’s 10,400 towers

Following the receipt of eight offers in December, Vimpelcom have shortlisted three bidders – Russian Towers, Vertical and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) –  in the sale of its 10,400 ground-based towers in Russia. Initial bids were reported in the order of US$500mn with the highest bid submitted at around US$800mn (US$48,047-US$76,923 per tower). An optional 19,500 rooftop sites could be included in the offering, taking the site count up to nearly 30,000. The transaction is expected to close in March of this year, helping to alleviate Vimplecom of some of its US$25bn in debt. Vimpelcom are also believed to have released a teaser, a potential prelude to the sale of infrastructure assets in the CIS region.

Russia: Russian Towers generate over a third of its revenues from Tele2

Russian Towers, which owns a portfolio of 1,500 towers in the Russia, reported in Q3 2015 that 37.6% of its revenues came from MNO Tele2. Vimpelcom (trading as Beeline) accounted for 19% of revenues, MTS 17.7% and Megafon 13.1%.

Spain: Telefónica carve out 11,500 Spanish towers into a new infrastructure unit, Wireless Towers

Following speculation in December surrounding a sale of 60,000 Telefónica assets the company has confirmed that it will carve out its 11,500 Spanish towers into a separate infrastructure business, Wireless Towers. Their subsea cable infrastructure has also been carved out into a separate entity – Submarine Telecom. The company is exploring a potential listing or sale of the business.

Turkey: Turkcell opens discussions with bankers regarding a potential tower divestiture

Having previously decided against a sale of towers in the Turkish market, Turkcell have re-opened discussions with bankers to investigate a potential sale of their towers held by subsidiary, Global Tower. Turkcell are working with advisors on a valuation of Global Tower (which owns a portfolio of 7,500 towers) and are looking into a potential IPO. Discussions are in the early stages and observers have commented that regulatory challenges in the country may present a barrier.

UK: The Competition and Markets Authority approves the sale of Orange and Deutsche Telecom shares in EE to BT

The British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved the sale of 100% of Orange and Deutsche Telecom’s shares in EE to BT. The sale positions BT as the leading integrated communications provider in the UK market and raises £3.4bn in cash for Orange.

UK: Consolidation amongst UK MNOs could force a tower sale

Anti competitive concerns from Brussels could force Hutch to divest O2’s towers if they are successful in their bid to acquire Telefonica’s UK business. This could force a realignment of partnerships within the UK’s two joint venture infrastructure sharing firms, CTIL (O2 and Vodafone) and MBNL (Three and EE, itself subject of an ongoing acquisition attempt from BT, recently approved by the UK CMA).

UK: Arqiva to work with Rothschild on strategic review

Arqiva, the UK telecoms and broadcast towerco, has confirmed they will be working with Rothschild to look at options to either restructure its debt or sell the business. The company whose shareholders include Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Macquarie Group’s European Infrastructure Fund has been looking at ways to improve its earnings following increasing competition in the UK market. A sale of the business could fetch around £2bn.

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