23 August 2019
American Tower has agreed to buy African masts business for US$1.85bn including debt.
Both companies have a presence in Ghana and Kenya – amongst others – and the deal will allow the Boston-headquartered business to build more in Africa.
The agreement will also generate about US$260m in property revenue in the first year of ownership, the company said.
Although the global telecom tower market is dominated by local firms, American Tower wants to take advantage of fast-growing mobile phone usage and the rollout of high-speed 4G technology in Africa.
That is evidenced by the fact this is the US firm’s second acquisition in Africa in the past year, after it agreed to buy more than 700 towers from Telkom Kenya.
American Tower has approximately 170,000 sites in 17 countries worldwide.
In 2018, Eaton scrapped plans for an initial public offering in London and Johannesburg.
The company, partly owned by Ethos Private Equity and Development Partners International, sought a valuation of about US$2bn to fund its own expansion plans.
Rivals Helios Towers and IHS Towers also scrapped IPOs last year because investors were concerned about the risks in some of their markets. The latter said it was worried about the uncertain outcome of Nigeria’s presidential election, which took place in February 2019.