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OMERS buys TPG towers portfolio for A$950m

TPG is the last of Australia’s major telecommunications companies to sell off a stake in its portfolio of towers, and the only one not to retain at least a minority ownership stake in its assets.

Australia’s TPG Telecom is set to sell its entire tower assets portfolio to Toronto-based asset manager OMERS Infrastructure for A$950 million ($668 million; €634 million).

The deal encompasses the telco’s mobile tower and roof infrastructure network, which includes 1,237 existing tower assets sites consisting of 428 towers and 809 rooftops – most of which are situated in major metropolitan areas – and 252 new sites that will be developed in due course.

The deal, which is subject to approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board, includes a master services agreement giving TPG access to the existing towers in the network over a 20-year term, with an option for TPG to extend.

TPG is the last of Australia’s major telecommunications companies to sell off a stake in its portfolio of towers, and the only one not to retain at least a minority ownership stake in its assets. In June 2021, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund Future Fund led a consortium – which comprised Queensland-based Sunsuper (now Australian Retirement Trust following its merger with QSuper) and the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation – to acquire 49 percent of Telstra’s InfraCo Towers portfolio of 8,000 tower assets for A$2.8 billion. The portfolio included more than 5,500 mobile towers throughout Australia.

This was followed by Optus’ parent company Singtel selling off a 70 percent stake in Australia Tower Network, which is responsible for operating Optus’ telco tower network, to AustralianSuper for A$1.9 billion in October 2021. The deal included 2,312 mobile network towers and rooftop sites and valued ATN at roughly A$2.3 billion.

In April, Macquarie Asset Management announced it had sold 100 percent of Axicom – Australia’s largest independent mobile towers owner – to ATN for A$5.58 billion. Axicom operates roughly 2,000 telco sites in metro and rural areas across all states and major cities across Australia.

In a statement, TPG chief executive Iñaki Berroeta said: “We are delighted to have concluded the strategic review of these assets with such a strong outcome for TPG Telecom shareholders. The transaction represents competitive long-term financing, which will reduce our total financial leverage and deliver lower borrowing costs.

“We are excited to welcome OMERS as a strategic partner and long-term custodian of these mobile network sites. We look forward to working with OMERS to transition the business and then to support its growth as it provides critical telecommunications infrastructure services to our customers and the broader Australian telecommunications sector.’’

TPG did not respond to requests for comment. OMERS was not immediately available for comment.