Vodafone 'plans' to sell stake in its Vantage Towers mast business

Phone mast
(Image credit: Vodafone)

Vodafone reportedly wants to sell a significant stake in its Vantage Tower mast business in order to reduce its £36 billion debt pile.

The Newbury-based firm spun off its European mobile towers back in 2019 with the intention of providing infrastructure services to other operators and attracting third party investment.

Last year, Vodafone and O2 agreed to add their shared towers in the UK to Vantage’s portfolio, bringing the total number of sites under its control to more than 82,000 across ten countries.

Vantage Towers sale

Reports earlier this year suggested that Vodafone has received an approach that valued the business at €15 billion and that it was open to at least lowering its stake. The company had hoped to merge with another tower group but its options on that front have narrowed.

Now, This is Money says Vodafone is open to a ‘co-control’ deal where it would sell half its stake to a private equity firm. Vodafone would cede some control but would be able to service its debt and be more able to focus on its core telecommunications business.

Vodafone has been approached by TechRadar Pro for comment.

Many operators have sought to either sell or spin off their tower assets in recent years, hoping to raise funds to invest in fibre and 5G networks. A sale generates immediate capital to fund deployments, while a separate entity or joint-venture can be more effective at monetising the infrastructure than if it stays in house.

Meanwhile, private equity firms and third-party investors who can take a long-term view appreciate the predictable returns and the scope for growth given the expected explosion in demand for mobile data and 5G services.

Most recently, Three’s parent company CK Hutchison received approval from UK competition authorities to sell its tower assets to Cellnex as part of a deal involving several European countries

Via This is Money

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.