September 24, 2014 / 12:10 AM / 5 years ago

RPT-Verizon hires TAP Advisors to plan sale of assets

(Repeats to add additional reporting credit)

Sept 23 (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc has hired investment bank TAP Advisors LLC to plan a sale of its network’s assets including its cell towers, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo told Reuters on Sept. 17 that Verizon is open to divesting its network’s assets.

Verizon was inspired by rival AT&T’s $4.85 billion sale of some of its towers to tower operator Crown Castle (CCI) last year, Shammo said.

A sale or leaseback of the towers similar to AT&T’s deal at $500,000 per site could raise $6 billion in liquidity, Macquarie Securities analyst Kevin Smithen wrote in a note.

“We believe there could be multiple bidders for this asset but believe the potential sale of the last sizeable U.S. tower asset could explain why CCI has not announced a capital return strategy to date,” Smithen said.

The assets for sale would include about 12,000 towers and could be announced by year-end, according to a Bloomberg report. (Reporting by Krishna Chaithanya in Bangalore and Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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