Dec 4 SBA Communications Corp said it
would acquire 2,007 telecom towers from Brazil's Grupo Oi SA
for about 1.53 billion reais ($645 million), giving
the U.S. company ownership or control over more than 5,000
towers in Brazil.
SBA and its U.S. peers American Tower Corp and Crown
Castle International Corp are in a scramble to beef up
assets in Brazil ahead of the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016
Olympic Games to be hosted there.
American Tower said in August it would acquire about 4,500
telecom towers in Brazil and Mexico from Latin American telecom
service provider NII Holdings Inc for $811 million.
SBA said on Wednesday it expected the new towers to
contribute about 110 million reais of cash leasing revenue and
$70 million reais of tower cash flow to its results during 2014.
"These are very good sites, concentrated in the most
populous areas of Brazil, with demonstrated attractiveness to
tenants," Chief Executive Jeffrey Stoops said.
The company bought 2,113 towers from Oi in July for about
SBA started operations in Brazil last December with the
acquisition of 800 towers from an unnamed broadband wireless
carrier for 362.8 million reais.
Oi has been working to reduce debt since it announced its
merger with Portugal Telecom in October. Net debt at Oi
was 29.3 billion Brazilian reais ($12.58 billion) at the end of
the third quarter.
Oi's common shares jumped nearly 8 percent to 3.81 reais in
Sao Paolo. Nasdaq-listed SBA's shares were untraded before the
The deal, which is expected to close by the end of March,
will also boost cash available for strategic investments, Oi
said in a filing. SBA will assume the cost of operating,
maintaining and expanding the cell towers.
Wireless carriers in Brazil have been making sale-leaseback
agreements on their towers to help pay down debts and boost
results in the face of an economic slowdown.