Optus has announced it has sold a majority stake of its telecommunications tower business to AustralianSuper for $1.9 billion.
The deal involves a 70 percent stake in wholly-owned subsidiary Australia Tower Network (ATN), which operates Optus’ passive telecommunications tower infrastructure and owns 2,312 mobile network towers and rooftop sites. Optus said the transaction values the company at $2.3 billion.
Optus also signed a long-term lease agreement with ATN, and will also be anchor tenant for 565 new build-to-suit (BTS) sites to be built over the next three years as part of the telco’s 5G footprint.
Optus’ largest competitor Telstra also sold a huge chunk of its telecommunications towers business, InfraCo Towers, in June this year. A consortium of Future Fund, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation and Sunsuper acquired 49 percent of the spinoff business.
Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said the transaction unlocks “significant value” for the organisation.
“The sale of these assets positions Optus well for the future as it provides capital to support core business growth while importantly allowing us to maintain the competitive advantage of our network’s active elements which continue to top independent reports on speed and quality of our network,” Bayer Rosmarin said.
“There has been strong interest from a competitive field of high-quality prospective buyers, and we are pleased with the outcome of the sales process. We very much look forward to a bright future partnering with Aussie Super, an iconic Australian infrastructure investor.”
AustralianSuper head of infrastructure Nik Kemp said ATN was a great addition to the company’s $24 billion infrastructure portfolio.
“ATN is a high-quality infrastructure asset that will benefit from growing demand for communication and digital services across Australia,” Kemp said.
“This is a unique opportunity to partner with Singtel in owning Australia’s largest independent tower company and delivering value for AustralianSuper members.”
Optus said it expects the deal will be completed by the end of October, subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions.