Eir seeks buyer for portfolio of wireless infrastructure assets

Spain’s Cellnex Telecom and Brookfield Asset Management are among suitors considering an acquisition of a collection of mobile towers

Irish telco Eir is seeking to sell a portfolio of mobile towers. Photograph: Maxwells

Irish telco Eir is seeking to sell a portfolio of mobile towers. Photograph: Maxwells

 

Eir is seeking a buyer for a portfolio of wireless infrastructure assets, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Dublin-based operator is working with an adviser to gauge interest in a collection of mobile towers, according to sources. Spain’s Cellnex Telecom and Brookfield Asset Management are among suitors considering an acquisition of the assets, it is understood.

Investors continue to pursue infrastructure assets that offer steady returns even as the market turmoil scuppers dealmaking across a range of other sectors. At least three fiber-optic network operators are pushing ahead with divestments in Europe, Bloomberg News has reported.

Niel’s other companies have also been selling assets, with Iliad and Salt Mobile agreeing last year to offload about 10,700 mobile towers in France, Italy and Switzerland to Cellnex for €2.7 billion.

Eir provides broadband internet, telephone, mobile and pay-television services. It’s the biggest fixed-line operator and the third-largest wireless carrier by customers.

Bidders

Other bidders could still emerge for the assets, and there’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction. Representatives for Eir, Cellnex and Brookfield declined to comment.

Cellnex announced its first deal of the year in January, buying a Morgan Stanley-backed tower venture in Portugal for €800 million including debt. Last month, it expanded in the country further by agreeing to purchase 2,000 towers from NOS SGPS. It has also announced a €1 billion agreement with Bouygues to build a fiber-optic network in France.

The value of announced infrastructure deals in the first quarter was $79 billion (€73 billion), according to data provider Preqin, up from the $69 billion agreed in the first quarter of 2019. That’s set to rise further, with other transactions in the works including a potential private-equity investment in Abu Dhabi’s $15 billion gas pipeline network, people with knowledge of the matter said last month. - Bloomberg