Airtel Africa Plc has announced the sale of its Tanzanian tower operations for about $175 million in a regulatory filing.
Airtel Africa is a leading telecom and mobile money services provider in Africa.
The tower portfolio (about 1,400 towers) was acquired by a joint venture owned by a subsidiary of the U.S. company, SBA Communications, and the UK-based Paradigm Infrastructure Ltd.
American investor Jeffrey Stoops is the CEO of SBA.
The sale is a strategic divestment of Airtel’s tower portfolio, as it moves to reduce its assets base and focus on core subscriber operations, such voice and data services. According to the terms, Airtel will develop, maintain and operate its equipment on the towers under a lease arrangement with the new owners.
The acquisition of the tower portfolio will help boost SBA’s infrastructure on the African continent. This will enable the company to meet mobile demand in Tanzania and facilitate entry into other African markets.
SBA has recently closed more than 1,200 transactions, acquiring thousands of towers in the United States, Canada, Central and South America and South Africa.
Stoops serves as SBA Communications’ president, CEO and director. He joined the company in April 1997 and has served as a director since August 1999.
Airtel to distribute portion of proceeds to Tanzanian government
Approximately $157.5 million of the $175 million to be paid as part of the deal will be payable during the second half of Airtel’s current financial year.
The deal will be paid in two tranches. SBA will pay at least $157.5 million of the $175 million in the second half of its current financial year. The rest will be paid at an agreed upon time.
In line with the terms of Airtel’s public listing in 2019 as agreed with the government, $60 million of the proceeds will be invested in Tanzania’s network and sales infrastructure and distributed to the government.