Wireless infrastructure player Crown Castle International is to sell off its mobile tower business in Australia to a consortium led by the country’s largest investment bank, Macquarie Group.
The takeover will be funded by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets fund, in partnership with local pension group Unisuper and UBS AG.
Worth approximately A$2 billion (US$1.6 billion), the deal will see the consortium take a majority stake in Crown Castle Australia Holdings, and underlines the growing demand for telecoms infrastructure across Australia.
Crown Castle Australia owns approximately 1700 wireless towers, accessible to the country’s three major operators; Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Hutchison Australia.
According to data from GSMA Intelligence, there are 30.3 million connections in Australia, with incumbent Telstra leading the market.
In a statement, Macquarie said Crown Castle “provides communications infrastructure for the vast majority of mobile device users in Australia”. The move is seen to back up Macquarie’s strategy of investing in low risk assets to secure stable returns.
Frank Kwok, Macquarie Infrastructure’s co-head of Asia-Pacific, further spoke of the consortium’s experience in owning infrastructure assets, and said that all parties involved will “bring significant expertise in the ownership and operation of communication infrastructure assets globally to the business”.
Crown Castle is expected to focus on its US towers business following the sale.