Crown Castle will acquire rights to approximately 7,200 T-Mobile towers for $2.4 billion in cash, according to an agreement inked by the companies. Under the definitive agreements, Crown Castle will have the exclusive right to lease and operate the T-Mobile towers for a weighted average term of approximately 28 years. In addition, Crown Castle will have the option to purchase the towers at the end of the lease terms for aggregate option payments of approximately $2.4 billion (which if exercised would be primarily between 2025 and 2048). The transaction is expected to close in fourth quarter 2012.
Crown Castle expects to fund the transaction with cash on hand and debt financing. Deutsche Telekom, of which T-Mobile USA is a subsidiary, will use the proceeds from the transaction to retire corporate debt and strengthen its financial position.
Following the contemplated transaction, Crown Castle will continue to be the largest wireless infrastructure operator in the US with approximately 30,000 towers and small cell operations in over 50 markets. T-Mobile’s nationwide network remains unchanged, consisting of approximately 51,000 cell sites, the vast majority of which are leased from third parties.
Crown Castle estimates the T-Mobile towers will produce approximately $125 million to $130 million in adjusted funds from operations (“AFFO”) before financing costs in 2013, and have sufficient capacity to accommodate at least one additional tenant per tower without significant incremental capital.
T-Mobile has committed to maintain its communications facilities on the towers from Crown Castle for a minimum of 10 years with annual rent escalation provisions tied to the consumer price index.
[Image Courtesy: T-Mobile]
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