American Tower to acquire towers in Brazil, Mexico for $811 million

Fri Aug 9, 2013 11:07am EDT

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(Reuters) - American Tower Corp (AMT.N), under attack from short-seller Muddy Waters over earlier acquisitions in Brazil, said it will acquire about 4,500 telecom towers in Brazil and Mexico from Latin American telecom service provider NII Holdings Inc (NIHD.O) for $811 million.

American Tower said it expects the towers to collectively generate about $149 million in annual revenue and add to its adjusted funds from operations upon closing.

A majority of the 2,790 towers in Brazil and 1,666 towers in Mexico are located in and around major population areas and along major highways.

The towers have a tenancy ratio -- the fraction of total number of operators sharing the towers -- of just over one tenant per tower, with Nextel Brazil or Nextel Mexico as the primary tenant.

NII Holdings operates the Nextel network in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Chile.

Nextel Brazil and Nextel Mexico have agreed to lease back the towers from American Tower for a minimum of 12 years, the company said.

American Tower said it expects to invest about $50 million in start-up capital spending associated with the two portfolios.

Smaller rival SBA Communications Corp (SBAC.O) said last month it would buy 2,113 towers in Brazil for about $302.6 million, bringing its tower count in the country to over 3,000.

American Tower owns over 56,000 towers worldwide, with more than 43 percent of them in the United States. About a third of its revenue last year was from its international business.

Muddy Waters said last month that American Tower claimed to have paid $585.4 million for 666 telecom towers in Brazil in 2011, while its research showed that the real price was closer to $300 million.

American Tower responded that the Muddy Waters report "contained inaccurate statements".

Shares of the company were up 1.5 percent at $70 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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