France’s Iliad is currently in the process of buying Play, having reached an agreement with its two main shareholders in September, is expected to complete the acquisition by the end of November. The agreement between Iliad and Cellnex is expected to be closed by Q2 2021.
Cellnex will invest around €800 million in acquiring the 60% stake, while the remaining 40% will continue to be owned by Play (Iliad) in line with the model that Cellnex and Iliad previously agreed for the sites formerly operated by Free (Iliad) in France. Cellnex will finance the transaction with available cash.
The new Polish telecommunications tower company could invest up to around €1.3 billion over the next 10 years in rolling out up to some 5,000 new sites.
Commenting on the development, Franco Bernabè, Cellnex chairman, said: “Cellnex’s European network continues to grow in scope and geographic diversification, density and capillarity. This is most certainly a significant differentiating factor that represents an undoubted added value, allowing us to present ourselves as a natural partner of choice for European mobile operators with which we can work together in different markets, supporting them in their projects to complete the roll-outs of 4G and accelerate the spread of 5G”.
Cellnex CEO Tobias Martinez added: “this transaction marks the addition of Poland to the group of European countries in which we operate. We are talking about one of the most important countries and economies in Eastern Europe, with nearly 40 million inhabitants and a GDP which, in relative terms, is performing better than that of the EU as a whole. I also want to highlight the strength of the arrangement that once again exemplifies the idea of cooperation and collaboration with our clients. In this case, we are repeating what we did in France in May 2019 and now Iliad, through Play, will keep 40% in the new company that will manage the towers and sites in Poland. At the same time, this arrangement will also enable us to position ourselves as a leading player in the Polish telecommunications sector”.