Vodafone has reportedly been approached by infrastructure investment firms over the possibility of taking a majority stake in Vantage Towers.
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 then floated on the Frankfurt stock exchange, raising €2.58 billion for Vodafone, which retains an 81% stake in the venture.
Reuters says Vodafone has received approaches from Brookfield and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) that value Vantage Towers at €15 billion. The operator is still considering the proposals but has yet to make any decision.
Although Vodafone is said to be open to lowering its stake in Vantage Towers, it is suggested that it would prefer a merger with another tower group, such as one operated by Deutsche Telekom or Orange. However, a deal would appeal investors who want Vodafone to focus on its core businesses and markets.
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 capita 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.
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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.