American Tower Corporation is acquiring a 51% controlling interest in Viom Networks.
The deal has come about via an agreement between American Tower, Tata Teleservices Limited, and SREI Infrastructure Finance Limited. Viom currently owns and operates approximately 42,200 wireless communications towers and 200 indoor distributed antenna systems across India. The total cash consideration will be INR 76 billion.
At closing, Tata Teleservices Limited will retain a part of its holding, with Macquarie SBI Infrastructure Investments Pte Limited, SBI Macquarie Infrastructure Trust and IDFC Private Equity Fund III retaining certain interests. Under the agreement, American Tower may acquire or be required to acquire all or a portion of the remaining 49% ownership stake in Viom. Additionally, the parties have agreed that, post-closing, American Tower’s existing Indian portfolio of approximately 14,000 towers will be merged with Viom, resulting in certain ownership adjustments.
James D. Taiclet, Jr., American Tower’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “ATC India’s greatly expanded portfolio of towers will enable us to play a key role in providing the communications real estate essential to the deployment of advanced wireless technologies throughout the country and to support the Indian government’s Digital India Initiative.”
Ishaat Hussain, Director, Tata Teleservices Limited, said “This partnership with ATC presents an opportunity for Tata Teleservices to leverage an enhanced infrastructure portfolio to better address the rapidly expanding market for next generation data services in India.”
Sunil Kanoria, Chairman and Managing Director of Viom and Vice Chairman of SREI Infrastructure Finance Limited, noted that “We are pleased to have found a new management team for Viom, and believe that ATC is well positioned to continue to optimise these assets.”
Amit Sharma, American Tower’s Executive Vice President and President, Asia, added, “Through our joint ownership with the Tata Group of over 56,000 towers, American Tower will be strategically positioned to benefit from the leasing revenue growth opportunities that will come from the accelerating deployment of 3G and 4G technologies by all of the wireless carriers in the market.”
American Tower intends to finance the transaction in a manner consistent with maintaining its investment grade credit rating. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval, and is expected to close in mid-2016.