Altice lining up another asset deal - Mobile World Live

Altice lining up another asset deal

04 FEB 2019

Altice Europe is apparently eyeing a spin-out of its Portuguese fibre network, in the latest move to restructure its operations to address worries about its debt.

The company took control of Portugal Telecom in 2015, having bought it from debt-laden Brazilian operator Oi. While Altice made a number of acquisitions on both sides of the Atlantic, there has been concern over its debt pile, especially as its key European asset, SFR, faces challenges in the tough French market.

In addition to addressing debt, Reuters noted Altice will need to have its finances in order when it comes time to deploying 5G in the next few years. This will see it facing bills for both spectrum and infrastructure.

A fibre spinout would echo moves it made in France in November 2018, when it lined up a deal to sell a stake in its fixed infrastructure assets to a number of investment companies. It has also sold a 75 per cent stake in a towers company it set up in Portugal, again with similar moves made elsewhere across the Altice footprint.

Citing “sources familiar with the matter”, Reuters reported an auction process for the Portuguese assets is expected to commence within a fortnight. Altice has apparently appointed Lazard as its adviser, with potential bidders including investment funds KKR and Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners.

Morgan Stanley was one of the companies in the successful consortium which bought the stake in Altice’s Portuguese towers unit.

Other possible bidders mooted by Reuters include unsuccessful bidders from a 2018 French fibre sale.

Information packages will be dispatched in the near future detailing how Altice will split costs between the infrastructure unit and its service provider business.

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