Macquarie unit sells tower operator

A sale of Global Tower Partners, which has 5,400 domestic towers, netted $3.3bn.

A Macquarie Group unit has sold MIP Tower Holdings, a private real estate investment trust (REIT), in a multi-billion dollar deal.

American Tower Corporation has paid Macquarie $3.3 billion for MIP Tower, the parent of Global Tower Partners (GTP), a US cell-phone tower operator, American Tower said.

The acquisition, for a total purchase price of $4.8 billion, also includes $1.5 billion of existing debt. The sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Macquarie unit Macquarie Infrastructure Partners II (MIP II) bought Boca Raton, Florida-headquartered Global Tower in a billion-dollar transaction from The Blackstone Group in 2007.

Founded in 2002, GTP, prior to its purchase by Australia-headquartered Macquarie, comprised 2,500 towers and 4,600 rooftop sites in the US.

Recombined into a REIT within MIP, Global Tower is today the owner of 5,400 domestic towers, 800 domestic property interests and management rights to 9,000 sites.

In addition, GTP has 500 communication sites in Costa Rica.

Goldman Sachs, EA Markets Securities, Clifford Chance US and Sullivan & Worcester advised American Tower. GTP was advised by Deutsche Bank Securities.

Jim Taiclet, president and chief executive of American Tower, noted that landing GTP would help “aggressive, multi-year 4G deployments”. In the telecommunications business, ‘4G’ is the ‘fourth generation’ of mobile phone technology.