Pan-European tower operator Cellnex continues on its rapid acquisition spree, with a deal to merge its Dutch operations with those of Deutsche Telekom. The two firms have also created a Digital Infrastructure Vehicle (DIV) fund, in which they will be anchor tenants, and look to drive build-out of telco digital platforms in Europe.
The Dutch deal will see 3,150 towers and rooftop sites owned by DT’s Dutch tower business, T-Mobile Infra, combined with Cellnex’s 984 cell sites in the country. A further 180 sites will be added to this tally of 4,134 over the next seven years, making Cellnex Netherlands the largest towerco in the market. DT, and its Dutch subsidiary T-Mobile NL, will retain access to the towers via a 15-year contract which is automatically renewable for 10-year periods.
The two firms have also created the independently managed DIV, an investment fund focused on European digital infrastructure. The fund will hold a 38% stake in Cellnex Netherlands, receiving €200m in capital from Cellnex and €400m from DT.
“Just as we did in Switzerland with Sunrise, we have built an alliance with Deutsche Telekom in the Netherlands which now allows us to consolidate our position as a key player in the Dutch market,” said Tobias Martinex, Cellnex’s CEO. “At the same time, since this agreement involves Cellnex gaining assets in exchange for equity in our local subsidiary, we are presenting to the market a new growth operation, one that preserves and protects our capacity to take on more projects by not consuming financial resources from the Group.”
Among other deals in 2020, Cellnex acquired towers from Poland’s Play and from CK Hutchison Europe. The latter transaction, worth €9bn, closed earlier this month.