Cellnex Telecom received a green light from the French Competition Authority to proceed with a €5.2 billion acquisition of Altice Europe’s tower unit Hivory and holding company Starlight Holdco, paving the way for the deal to be completed in the next few days.
In a statement, Cellnex remarked the deal was approved following a Phase 1 investigation by the regulator, although the company will be required to divest 3,200 sites following completion.
As part of the deal, Cellnex will take control of 10,500 sites and commit to a €900 million, eight-year investment programme covering deployment of up to 2,500 new sites, among other projects.
Following approval in France, Cellnex articulated it was already working on opportunities related to deployment of new core assets, which will be funded by what it receives from the divestment requested.
CEO Tobias Martinez explained the integration of Hivory would result in Cellnex working with the three largest operators in France, promoting infrastructure sharing, freeing up financial resources from those operators and ensuring a fluid extension of 5G across the country.
Cellnex has notably been a big spender in Europe in recent times, buying tower assets from operators across major markets including Spain and Portugal.
Approval for the Altice deal will no doubt come as a relief, as a move to acquire CK Hutchison’s tower assets remains in the balance due to an ongoing probe in the UK.