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Liberty Global planning $690m Belgian tower sale

If sale comes to be, the transaction will not only add to the growing M&A list of, but also become one of the most interesting tower deals in Europe due to Belgium regulations.

By João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

3 Mins

October 18, 2021 | 2:05 AM BST

Liberty Global Plc is reportedly considering the sale of about 3,000 Belgian tower assets in a deal with that could be worth at least €600 million (US$690 million).

The infrastructure sits under the Mechelen-based Telenet wireless unit, which is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on the potential divesture, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The transaction, the people said, could be involve private equity and strategic suitors.

In its latest financial results, John Porter, Telenet Group’s CEO, mentioned a “potential tower transaction” in one of his remarks.

“…we have already mentioned the tower — potential tower – transaction; where I can update you is that we are very, very far down the road, if not almost complete, on prepping the asset for a

potential transaction,” he said.

Also, at Liberty Global, CEO Mike Fries said the company had “begun the process of monetising hidden assets in our OpCos like towers in Holland, Belgium, and the UK”.

Neither Liberty Global or Telenet were available for comment.

Telenet is Belgium’s largest provider of cable broadband services and is 58.28% owned by Liberty Global. Liberty is a British-Dutch-American multinational telecommunications company with headquarters in London, Amsterdam and Denver. The firm is owned by multi-billionaire John Malone.

In its latest results, Telenet posted H1 2021 revenue of €1,288.3 million, +1% yoy on both a reported and rebased basis, reflecting higher cable and mobile telephony subscription revenue as well as improved other revenue. This market a comeback into positive revenue growth grounds.

Net profit topped €211.7 million in H1 2021 (Q2 2021: €99.2 million), +14% yoy, driven by lower net finance expense and a 3% growth in the business’ operating profit, which more than offset higher income tax expense.

If Liberty Global’s Telenet tower sale comes to be, the sale will not only add to the growing M&A list of 2021 in the European digital infrastructure field, but also become one of the most interesting tower deals on the continent this year due to Belgium regulations.

In Belgium, all operators benefit from the regulatory framework which provides for an obligation to share antenna sites at a regulated price since 2008. This regulation sets the Belgian towers market apart from other European markets.

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João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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