Cellnex Eyes Stake in $11 Billion CK Hutchison Tower Arm

Cellnex Telecom SA is considering bidding for a stake in CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.’s European wireless tower business, according to people familiar with the matter, as it scouts for new acquisitions.

Europe’s largest wireless tower operator is in early-stage discussions about acquiring a minority holding in the CK Hutchison portfolio, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. If deliberations lead to a deal, it could value the unit at as much as 10 billion euros ($11.3 billion), according to the people.

CK Hutchison, backed by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, has been working with advisers to carve out its European towers as a separate subsidiary and is considering selling a minority stake in the business, the people said.

There’s no certainty Cellnex’s interest will result in a formal offer, and other suitors could still emerge, according to the people. The Spanish company typically seeks a path to operational control of its investments and it could opt to buy elsewhere, they said.

Representatives for Cellnex and CK Hutchison declined to comment.

Shares of CK Hutchison rose as much as 1.7% in Hong Kong on Tuesday, outperforming a 1.2% drop in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Carriers across Europe have been taking advantage of investor demand for tower assets that offer steady, long-term returns. CK Hutchison said in August last year it plans to create a new infrastructure unit holding about 28,500 masts spread across the region.

Barcelona-based Cellnex is considering selling more than 3 billion euros of new stock to fund future acquisitions, Bloomberg News reported this month. It has already announced several purchases in the past few months, including a transaction that helped it enter the Portuguese market.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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