According to Reuters, Deutsche Telekom (DTE.DE) is said to be in the process of soliciting bids for its 40,600 towers and may be seeing firm offers in the next few weeks. Goldman Sachs is reportedly acting as an advisor in the sale with analysts putting the estimated price at just under $20 billion.
Going back to its Capital Markets Day in May 2021, DT announced it was undertaking a “strategic review” of its 58,000 owned and operated sites. This tally includes GD Towers, a wholly-owned DT subsidiary, along with sites DT owns in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. DT is one of the biggest mobile network operators in Europe that still owns a large tower portfolio. Selling passive infrastructure assets such as towers is a way for MNOs like DT to reduce debt and lower operating costs.
Its towers are managed by Deutsche Funkturm (DFMG), Germany’s largest tower company with 32,800 sites and is wholly-owned by DT. DFMG’s portfolio includes towers, masts, rooftop sites, distributed antenna systems, and small cells. DFMG operates as part of DT’s GD Towers division that also has another 7,000 towers in Austria.
Interest in DT’s towers is high among independent tower companies operating in Europe. Spanish tower operator Cellnex, with 130,000 operational and planned towers, (See, Cellnex Leads European TowerCos) and U.S.-based American Tower (NYSE: AMT), are in the process of preparing bids, according to Reuters, although neither company would comment. At year-end 2021, American Tower owned 30,000 towers in Europe, mainly in Spain and Germany, having successfully acquired Telxius Towers from Telefonica earlier in the year, as Inside Towers reported.
Other tower companies that may be submitting bids are Vodafone’s Vantage Towers or Orange’s Totem. Vantage Towers counts more than 82,000 towers in its overall European portfolio, including 45,600 towers it owns along with access to another 36,300 sites through two network infrastructure joint ventures in the U.K. and Italy. Totem has over 26,000 towers in France and Spain. Interestingly, these two towercos are rumored to be in their own merger talks.