Investors reportedly bid $16 billion for Vodafone tower unit

telecoms radio towers

MNO Vodafone has apparently been given a $16 billion offer for a majority stake in its Vantage Towers mast business by investor firms.

According to Reuters, Investment firms Brookfield and Global Infrastructure Partners submitted unsolicited offers in the last few weeks for a majority stake in Vantage Towers, however Vodafone’s preference is for an industry merger.

Two separate sources told Reuters that no deal was imminent however, since Vodafone has been reluctant to engage in talks with financial investors as it seeks to sew up an industry merger for the mast business with either Deutsche Telekom or Orange.

“The next stage (for Vantage) should be an industrial merger, bringing our towers with another large player, a like-minded player, a like-minded operator,” Vantage Towers Boss Nick Read told reporters last month, according to the article.

Obviously towers are entirely vital to the business of a telco, but the assumption that you have to own them is one that has been put to the test more recently with many operators looking to sell and then lease back infrastructure.

The proposed deal here is slightly different but the context is that when operators are finding themselves without tons of liquid cash, directly owning the things might make less sense for them in some situations. Whether this turns out to be short term thinking that will prove to be problematic later on remains to be seen – but regardless for now Vodafone seems reluctant for a straight up purchase of its towers business.

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