The move marks ATC’s exit from the Indian market after almost 17 years
Canadian firm Brookfield Asset Management has announced today that it will buy American Tower Corporation (ATC)’s Indian operations for $2.5 billion, a move which will make it India’s largest telecom tower operator.
ATC launched operations in India back in 2007 and currently has around 75,000 sites across the country.
These will be combined with Brookfield’s existing Indian digital infrastructure assets – namely Summit Digitel, Crest Digitel, and Roam Digitel – all of which are managed by Brookfield’s Digital Infrastructure Trust.
Summit Digitel is a towerco controlling around 177,000 towers, while Crest Digitel is focussed on small cells and in-building connectivity infrastructure. Real Digitel, a new venture formed late last year, is reportedly expected to focus on tower acquisition and construction.
If ATC India’s towers are combined with Summit Digitel’s, the latter will boost its portfolio to over a quarter of a million tower sites, making it the second largest independent tower company in the world.
“We look forward to expanding and enhancing our existing telecom tower portfolio in India, which enables a broader array of solutions for our customers and partners. Through strategic acquisitions like ATC India, we remain deeply committed to empowering digital connectivity and transforming the telecom infrastructure landscape across the region,” said Arpit Agrawal, Managing Director, Head of Infrastructure in India and the Middle East, at Brookfield in a statement.
The transaction is subject to government and regulatory approval and is expected to close in the second half of this year.
The sales comes after ATC completed a strategic review of its Indian operations, which they began in early 2023. This was in part due to the fact that s top client, Vodafone Idea, has faced profitability struggles for many years and has recently written down the value of the company by $322 million. Since the launch of Reliance Jio in 2016, the company has also failed to secure significant new investment as it fights for market share.
The telecoms industry in India is the second largest in the world, with over 1 billion subscribers. As such, the market is highly attractive for digital infrastructure investors. Indeed, this deal is the third of Brookfield’s acquisitions in the India telecommunications industry. In 2019, they purchased Reliance Jio’s tower assets for $2.66 billion. Later, in 2022, the firm acquired 5,000 small cell sites and business solution sites to advance 5G coverage countrywide.
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