Following 18 months of speculation, Optus has announced the sale of its telecommunication towers business to AustralianSuper for A$1.9 billion.
The telco’s parent company Singtel has entered into an agreement to sell a 70 per cent stake in Australia Tower Network (ATN), the subsidiary which operates Optus’ tower infrastructure, to AustralianSuper. ATN has 2312 mobile network towers and rooftop sites that comprise a total value of A$2.3 billion, Optus said.
Under the terms of the deal, Optus will have continued access to the sites through a long-term lease agreement with ATN. According to the telco, Optus will be the anchor tenant for 565 new build-to-suit sites to be built over the next three years for its 5G network.
Rumours first began of Singtel’s decision to sell the towers assets for A$2 billion in April 2020, prompting a denial by the Singapore-based telco.
Then in May 2021, the Australian Financial Review said that Singtel was offering a 60 per cent to 70 per cent stake in the towers company in an auction run by Bank of America.
Now, with the deal set for completion at the end of the month, Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said the transaction “unlocks significant value for the organisation.”
“The sale of these assets positions Optus well for the future as it provides capital to support core business growth while importantly allowing us to maintain the competitive advantage of our network’s active elements which continue to top independent reports on speed and quality of our network,” she added.
AustralianSuper’s head of infrastructure Nik Kemp meanwhile said that ATN is a great addition to its A$24 billion infrastructure portfolio.
“ATN is a high-quality infrastructure asset that will benefit from growing demand for communication and digital services across Australia,” he said. “This is a unique opportunity to partner with Singtel in owning Australia’s largest independent tower company and delivering value for AustralianSuper members.”
The sale comes hot on the heels of Telstra's own offloading of its tower business to a consortium comprising the Future Fund, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation and Sunsuper.
Following the sale, the towers business became known as Amplitel.