AT&T signs tower sale-leaseback deal with Peppertree for up to $680 million

(Reuters) - AT&T Inc T.N said on Friday it had struck a sale-leaseback agreement valued up to $680 million with private equity firm Peppertree Capital Management for about 1,000 wireless communication towers.

Peppertree will purchase more than 1,000 AT&T towers, and the telecom operator will lease back capacity on the towers from Peppertree.

The deal comes as the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier aims to cut its huge debt pile, which stood at $157.79 billion as of end-June, according to a regulatory filing.

AT&T expects to close a substantial number of towers by the end of the year.

In 2013, AT&T agreed to lease the rights of about 9,100 company-owned wireless towers to Crown Castle International Corp CCI.N for nearly $4.85 billion.

AT&T has been facing pressure from activist investor Elliott Management to end its acquisition spree and focus on improving its business.

The company is set to report its third-quarter results on Oct. 28.

Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel