Antin in exclusive talks to buy €200m of French telecom assets

The French fund manager has entered into exclusive negotiations with Bouygues to buy over 2,000 telecommunication towers.

Antin Infrastructure Partners (Antin), the French infrastructure fund manager, is holding exclusive negotiations with Bouygues Telecom that could lead to the purchase of over 2,000 telecommunication towers, a spokesperson from Bouygues said.

When contacted by Infrastructure Investor, a spokesperson from Antin declined to comment on the possible purchase.

The deal could be worth some €200 million, a source familiar with the transaction said. Bouygues Telecom is France’s third-biggest mobile phone operator, part of French developer Bouygues. The latter, in an end of August results presentation, said it was looking to divest some of its wireless towers and property assets to help cut debt.

If successful, the telecommunications deal would be the second such transaction for Antin. In October 2011, it bought Spanish company Axion, described by the fund manager on its website as “the second-largest provider of broadcasting, tower infrastructure, and telecommunication services in Spain”. Axion operates some 575 sites, mostly located in Andalusia.

Antin is inching closer to fully investing its first infrastructure fund. In an exclusive interview published in the May 2012 issue of Infrastructure Investor magazine, chief executive Alain Rauscher said:

“We are about two-thirds invested for Fund I and we have a 75 percent investment threshold which triggers the launch of a second fund. So we are not quite there yet, but given the current pipeline, we expect to be there in the next few months and consequently go to market with the new fund by the end of this year.”

Antin finished raising its first infrastructure fund in late 2010, bagging €1.1 billion from 35 investors based in Scandinavia, France, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Canada and Australia.