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Arqiva to sell mobile infrastructure division in £2bn deal

(Image credit: O2)

Arqiva is to sell its telecoms division to Spanish infrastructure group Cellnex for £2 billion, with the former set to focus on its it broadcast business.

As part of the deal, Cellnex will gain 7,400 sites – including masts, towers and urban rooftops – and the right to market a further 900 across the UK. The company already operators and markets tower assets in the UK and signed a long-term strategic agreement with BT in June to operate 220 of its high towers.

Cellnex will inherit a customer base that includes all four major UK operators, as well as the CTIL and MBNL infrastructure sharing joint-ventures, at a time when they are expanding 4G coverage and investing in 5G.

Arqiva sale

“The deal will see a number of colleagues transfer to Cellnex, which I am confident will be an excellent owner for the business. I am sure that it will continue to go from strength to strength under their stewardship.”

"The Arqiva Telecoms division acquisition is a key milestone for Cellnex,” said Cellnex CEO Tobias Martinez. “Its strong UK asset-base, revenues and financial profile, combined with its long history at the heart of UK digital infrastructure, make it a perfect addition to our operations. This deal will not only add c.8,300 telecom sites to our portfolio but an experienced team that will further strengthen Cellnex’s demonstrated ability to meet its customers requirement.

“The UK has always been a core component of our inorganic expansion plans. This agreement further demonstrates our commitment and confidence in the UK market as we look ahead to further opportunities.”

The deal is expected to close in the second half of next year and the proceeds will be used to secure the long-term sustainability of Arqiva’s broadcast unit which offers services to the television and radio industries.

“This agreement provides both stability and a focus for our future as we concentrate on the provision of broadcast infrastructure, end-to-end networks and connectivity solutions for our TV and radio customers, international content owners, data network providers and utilities,” added Arqiva CEO Simon Beresford-Wylie.

“The majority of proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce debt, thereby providing a solid financial base for Arqiva and its shareholders to invest in the future of the UK’s terrestrial TV and radio platforms as well as its data networks and capability.