American Tower Corp agreed to buy telecoms masts from Idea Cellular, Vodafone

Vastavam web: American Tower Corp has agreed to buy about 20,000 mobile phone masts for 78.5 billion rupees ($1.2 billion) from Idea Cellular and Vodafone India, who are seeking to merge.The two companies have also said they will look at selling their holdings in Indus, the country’s biggest mobile masts operator with 123,000 towers, which is jointly owned with an affiliate of rival network operator Bharti Airtel.Last month Bharti Infratel said it would consider buying out its partners in Indus Towers, where Vodafone has a 42 percent stake and Idea along with private equity firm Providence owns 16 percent.
Idea Cellular, part of the Aditya Birla conglomerate, on Monday reported its fourth straight quarterly loss, mainly due to it having to compete against Jio’s series of cut-price service offers.American Tower, which agreed to take control of Indian masts operator Viom in 2015 for 76 billion rupees, has been steadily expanding its presence in India – the world’s second biggest wireless market with 1.2 billion mobile subscribers.
Consistent returns in the longer term have also attracted private equity investors to the market, although in the near term mast operators will struggle to grow revenue as some of their tenant phone network operators merge or shut down.Media reports have said KKR & Co LP, which along with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, already owns over a 10th of Bharti Infratel, the only publicly-traded mast operator in India, is leading a group of investors to take control of the company.