Cellnex Telecom withdrew an offer to acquire a stake in Deutsche Telekom’s tower portfolio, a move which reportedly leaves a consortium led by KKR as the sole bidder.

In a statement to its domestic stock market regulator CNMV, the Spain-headquartered company explained it had dropped out of the race for Deutsche Telekom’s assets in Germany and Austria.

Last week, reports suggested KKR had emerged as the front runner to invest in the tower assets.

The US investor reportedly made an offer with Global Infrastructure Partners and Stonepeak which was deemed more attractive than a rival proposal from Cellnex and Brookfield Asset Management.

Reuters reported Cellnex had offered Deutsche Telekom a small stake in its own business as part of a binding offer. However, the KKR bid reportedly allows the operator to retain control of its towers portfolio, while giving the investor some say over corporate governance.

Deutsche Telekom is understood to have commenced the sales process of its 40,600 mobile masts in March, in an attempt to maximise the value of its infrastructure assets.

Around 33,000 towers are based in Germany alone and are directly managed by Deutsche Funkturm.

The operator’s tower assets are reportedly worth up to €20 billion, although estimates of the value of a potential deal vary.