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Antin exits telco business to American Tower, PGGM

A platform created by the US group and the Dutch pension in October is set to acquire FPS for €697m, just over a year after Antin acquired full control of the French company.

Antin Infrastructure Partners has agreed to sell 100 percent of French telecom towers group FPS to American Tower Corporation and PGGM.

The latter will acquire the business through ATC Europe, a joint venture they formed in late October. The tie-up, 49 percent-owned by PGGM, is run by American Tower and seeded with the company’s German assets.

Although deal size and investment returns were not disclosed in the announcement, an American Tower SEC filing states ATC Europe acquired FPS for €697 million. It is understood that the transaction values the company at more than 15x EBITDA.

The deal, set to provide Antin’s €1.1 billion debut fund with its sixth exit, comes just a week after the European fund manager hit a €3.6 billion first and final close on its third vehicle. There will be three assets left in Fund I once the transaction is completed, which is expected to be in the first quarter of 2017.

The firm originally bought a 75 percent stake in FPS from France’s Bouygues Telecom in 2012, snapping up 2,166 towers for €205 million. Antin acquired the remaining 15 percent in September 2015, giving it full control over the company’s 2,400 towers.

PGGM and American Tower were the winning team in an auction that reportedly had about 10 contenders, including 3i Infrastructure and Cellnex, a former division of Spain’s Abertis.

In November, PGGM appointed Erik van de Brake as head of infrastructure, filling a position vacant since September. Van de Brake, a 20-year veteran at the pension, replaced Frank Roeters van Lennep, who became chief investment officer for private markets over the summer.

American Tower could not be reached for comment. PGGM and Antin declined to comment.