Airtel pulls the plug on Malawi tower deal, rest of Eaton transaction unaffected

Eaton has already closed Airtel acquisitions in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, with Burkina Faso and Niger to follow

Airtel’s deal to sell their towers in Malawi to Eaton Towers has timed out due to slow progress toward close. Contrary to some reports in the press suggesting that the entire 3,500 Eaton-Airtel tower deal had been cancelled, the deal is off only in Malawi, the smallest tower portfolio of the six countries in which Airtel had agreed to sell towers to Eaton.

Eaton has already closed transactions to acquire over 2,000 Airtel towers in Ghana, Uganda and Kenya. A further transaction in Burkina Faso may close as soon as next week. Regulatory discussions have delayed Eaton and Airtel’s proposed transaction in Niger.

To date, Airtel has closed tower transactions in seven African countries: Nigeria (with American Tower), Rwanda and Zambia (with IHS), Ghana, Uganda and Kenya (with Eaton) and Congo Brazzaville (with Helios Towers Africa).

Malawi is the fourth country in which Airtel has cancelled their tower transaction, although Airtel are back at the negotiating table to discuss previously cancelled tower transactions in Tanzania, Chad and DRC, as well as a potential deal in Gabon.

Airtel seem likely retain their towers in Sierra Leone, Madagascar and the Seychelles.

Airtel African tower sale: What has closed, and who is buying what?


One Comment

Kieron Osmotherly

In a media statement on October 20, 2015 Bharti Airtel reconfirmed that transactions for a total of 8,300 towers had been closed in seven countries in Africa to date, representing 60% of the their total tower base and raising US$1.7bn. They also note that two transactions are ongoing (which TowerXchange understand to be Eaton’s in Burkina Faso and Niger).

The press release also notes that “Tower sales and lease back shall continue to remain a strategic priority for Airtel in all its operating countries across Africa and accordingly the balance of towers will be disposed over a period of time.” TowerXchange understand talks have already resumed over the prospective sale of towers in Tanzania, DRC and Chad.

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