Altice Is Said to Near Sale of Towers to Morgan Stanley, KKR

(Bloomberg) -- Altice Europe NV’s towers in Portugal are poised to be sold to Morgan Stanley’s infrastructure arm, while a minority stake in its French masts are likely to be sold to private equity firm KKR & Co., according to people with knowledge of the situation.

The transactions could be announced as early as Wednesday, the people said, declining to be identified ahead of a public disclosure. The Portugal asset is worth as much as 700 million euros ($810 million), while the French stake could fetch up to 1.7 billion euros, they said. Shares of Altice jumped to their highest in almost eight months.

Representatives for Altice, Morgan Stanley and KKR declined to comment.

The transaction comes as the telecommunications company tries to slash its debt load of 32.2 billion euros. Its billionaire founder Patrick Drahi is attempting to bolster the firm’s finances by halting acquisitions, pursuing asset sales and spinning off its U.S. unit. The company said last month that it expects to close the transactions for its towers in the second half of this year.

Altice climbed as high as 3.57 euros, a level it hasn’t achieved since October, before trading up 6 percent to 3.53 euros in Amsterdam. The stock has almost doubled this year, giving it a market value of $5.7 billion.

KKR is close to buying a minority stake in the French business, Reuters reported this week.

During a call with analysts last month, Altice Europe Chief Financial Officer Dennis Okhuijsen said the company was hoping to receive “proceeds of at least 2 billion” euros for the Portuguese and French towers. The portfolio in Portugal includes around 3,000 sites while the one in France has around 10,000, Altice said in a presentation.

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