* JV to buy MTN Uganda tower sites for $175 mln
* American Tower to pay $89 mln for 51 pct stake in JV
Dec 8 American Tower Corp said it
launched its Uganda operations by entering a joint venture tower
company with Africa's top mobile operator MTN Group.
The joint venture, named ATC Uganda, will buy all existing
tower sites from South Africa-based MTN's Uganda unit for $175
million in a deal expected to close in the first half of 2012.
American Tower, which manages about 38,000 towers around the
world, has been buying towers in the U.S. and expanding its
footprint in emerging markets.
The U.S. tower company will pay about $89 million for a 51
percent stake in the joint venture with the rest owned by MTN.
American Tower expects ATC will build about 280 tower sites
for MTN Uganda over the next three years, and look for
opportunities to build tower sites for other wireless operators
in the East African country.
"Infrastructure sharing makes absolute sense for MTN and we
expect it to play a significant role in reducing our long-term
infrastructure costs," MTN Chief Executive Sifiso Dabengwa said.
MTN, which operates in 21 countries across Africa and the
Middle East, has transformed into a $36 billion mobile giant by
focusing on fast-growing emerging markets.
American Tower shares closed at $57.82 on Thursday on the
New York Stock Exchange.