Telecoms Infra M&A outlook H2 2019

European M&A activity in telecoms infrastructure – which includes, fibre optic networks, datacentres, mobile and broadcasting towers - has seen a hive of activity in H1 2019, and the market shows little sign of cooling, with a number blockbuster deals in the pipeline. TMT Finance highlights the top upcoming M&A prospects rumoured to be coming to market before the end of 2019:

CTIL

In an effort to monetise its tower infrastructure, Vodafone is eyeing a potential £2.5bn sale of its 50:50 UK towers joint venture with Telefonica, dubbed Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited (CTIL). TMT Finance reported earlier in the year that several banks including Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and UBS had pitched to land a role advising Vodafone on its plans. Sources have suggested the process, which could attract interest from firms such as Spanish towerco Cellnex, could launch before the end of the year, dependent on a resolution on Brexit.

Deutsche Glasfaser

Private equity firm KKR is expected to formally kick off the sale of its German fibre-optic network operator Deutsche Glasfaser in September. Morgan Stanley has been hired to run a sale which could fetch at least E3bn. In terms of potential buyers, the asset will attract strong interest from infrastructure funds and institutional investors – including the likes of Brookfield Infrastructure, I Squared Capital, Canadian pension funds, to name a few. Should local strategic players such as United Internet, Vodafone and O2 be invited to bid, they would also be keen on the asset.

Arqiva

Almost two years after pulling out of a £6bn float, UK infrastructure firm Arqiva will reportedly split its television and radio broadcast infrastructure and its telecoms towers infrastructure, and either sell or list one or both entities. TMT Finance understands that Lazard has been hired to run the process. If a sale of one or both assets was to take place, some sources have said the company could achieve multiples of around 12-13 times EBITDA. Market sources expect the process to launch before the CTIL process if possible.

Eurofiber

Having been in the works for over a year, Antin Infrastructure Partner is finally set to launch the sale of its Netherlands-based fibre business Eurofiber. While no financial advisor has been hired, sources suggest the E1.5bn sale could kick off in Q4 2019. Interest for the asset will be high and offers could come in from parties such as Stonepeak Infrastructure, Berkshire Partners and Canadian pension fund OMERS, among others.

ScaleWay

French telecom operator Iliad is believed to be eyeing a sale of its cloud hosting business Scaleway. While advisers have not been hired yet, sources suggest the entire business could be valued at between E700m and E1bn. It is still unclear if Iliad is aiming for a partial sale of Scaleway’s assets or an entire offload of the company, but banks have been pitching early-stage proposals to the operator. Scaleway owns five datacentres, one in Amsterdam and four in France, and recently opened a datacentre in Poland to target Eastern European clients, with Asia and LatAm sites scheduled to open by end-2020.

inexio

In a key indicator of the health of the buoyant European fibre space, Warburg Pincus-owned Germany fibre operator inexio is also expected to sell a stake in the business before the end of the year. Rothschild has been hired to run the process which could raise E300m to E500m to help fund FTTH rollout. It is not yet clear whether Warburg Pincus will sell a minority or majority stake, but sources have said that infra funds will be keen on the asset.

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