PG&E Sells Rights to Put Antennas on Towers for $973 Million

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PG&E Corp., California’s largest utility, sold the rights to put wireless telecom antennas on its towers to a subsidiary of SBA Communications Corp. for $973 million.

The company will use the proceeds to pay down debt, reduce customer bills and help offset future share sales and stock dilution, according to a statement Tuesday. PG&E emerged from bankruptcy last year after agreeing to pay $25.5 billion to settle claims from wildfires blamed on its equipment.

PG&E shares rose as much as 1.4% after the close of regular trading in New York.

“When we emerged from Chapter 11, we made a commitment to achieve financial stability and bolster our overall financial health,” said Chris Foster, PG&E’s interim chief financial officer, in the statement. “Strategically selling non-core assets like these is one way we’re continuing to follow through on that commitment.”

SBA will buy licenses to more than 700 PG&E transmission towers, and will be able to sublicense and market equipment on up to 28,000 additional towers. PG&E will receive a portion of revenues from sublicenses. The deal is expected to close early this year.

Tower operators, like SBA, acquire property rights on buildings, poles and raised structures in order to rent out antenna space. Wireless carriers, looking to build out network coverage, become antenna tenants on these cell sites.

PJT Partners was the exclusive financial adviser to PG&E.

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