3i takes majority share in Wireless Infrastructure Group

With a £186 million investment, the Jersey-based firm now holds a 91% equity stake in the UK communications operator.

Jersey-based investment firm 3i Infrastructure has increased its stake in Wireless Infrastructure Group to a majority share, investing an additional £186 million ($252 million; €209 million).

Last week, 3i agreed to buy the share of WIG owned by Barings, a London-based investment bank, with the deal bringing 3i’s equity stake in the company to 91 percent. The deal was finalised on Wednesday.

3i first took a minority stake of the British telecoms firm in April 2016, paying £75 million for a 36-percent share.

“The reason it suits our infrastructure fund is that it’s got a base of long-term contracts,” Ben Loomes, 3i’s co-head of infrastructure at the time of the deal, told Infrastructure Investor in 2016. “So it has long-duration and inflation-linked cashflows, and you own critical infrastructure.”

Last month, 3i divested its 39.3-percent stake in the €3.5 billion Finnish electricity distributor Elenia. It also sold a 15-percent stake in Anglian Water Group in a deal worth approximately £580 million.

“After the divestments of Elenia and AWG, this is a good example of the opportunities available to 3i Infrastructure to deploy additional capital in its existing portfolio,” said 3i chairman Richard Laing of the WIG deal.