Vodafone is seeking to raise 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in an initial public offering of its European mobile-phone towers unit in Frankfurt, making it, according to Bloomberg, one of the biggest stock market listings seen in the region this year.
The U.K.-based telecommunications giant said that it intends to sell shares in Vantage Towers AG at 22.50 euros to 29 euros apiece, with the final number of shares depending on the IPO prices.
“The Vantage Towers IPO is moving ahead at pace,” said Vivek Badrinath, Vantage Towers’ chief executive. “Today’s price range announcement is accompanied by the news that two leading global investors have committed to cornerstone our IPO with the purchase of €950 million of shares at the offer price.”
Badrinath added that Europe’s high demand for data and connectivity is “powering growth in the towers sector.”
Investment fund Digital Colony has agreed to buy 500 million euros of Vantage Towers stock, while another fund RRJ will purchase 450 million euros of stock, in the offering, which begins today and will end around 17 March. The news of Digital Colony’s participation comes on the heels of its recently announced $854 million deal to take network infrastructure provider Boingo Wireless private.
This latest news represents somewhat of a trend as European carriers have set their sights on unlocking value from their tower, mast and fiber assets to combat the effects of the pandemic, as well as increases in competition and regulation.
One such example is Telxius Telecom’s — subsidiary of Telefónica — sale of its telecommunications towers businesses in Europe and Latin America to American Tower Corporation (ATC), in a deal that involved an impressive 30,722 telecommunication tower sites.
With its roughly 82,000 macro sites across 10 countries, Vodafone seems to have a lot of tower value to unlock. The company said that it will use the proceeds from the offering period to pay down some of its debt, so that it can better focus on building out 5G networks.