American Tower Corporation and Bharti Airtel have entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of over 4,800 of Airtel’s communications towers in Nigeria.
Airtel will be the anchor tenant on the portfolio under a lease with a ten-year initial term. The deal was arranged via thrugh Bharti Airtel Limited’s subsidiary company, Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV (Airtel).
Jim Taiclet, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Tower, said: “With the largest population and economy in Africa and relatively underdeveloped wireless infrastructure, we view Nigeria as a tremendous growth opportunity.”
Commenting on the development, Christian de Faria, MD and Chief Executive Officer of Bharti Airtel Africa, said, “This agreement, which is part of our stated philosophy of promoting infrastructure sharing, will provide us with considerable cost efficiencies and at the same time allows us to sharpen our focus on the customer."
The agreement will allow Airtel to focus on its core business and customers, enable it to deleverage through debt reduction and will significantly reduce its on-going capital expenditures on passive infrastructure in Nigeria. The operator recently agreed to sell off more towers in Malawi and Tanzania.
American Tower and Airtel expect to close the acquisition during the first half of 2015, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval.