Communications tower operator SBA Communications Corp. struck a deal to buy 3,252 towers located across 47 states and Puerto Rico from affiliates of TowerCo for $1.2 billion in cash and 4.6 million shares of SBA common stock for a total transaction value of approximately $1.45 billion. The acquisition is believed to include TowerCo's entire portfolio and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.
Jeffrey A. Stoops, SBA's president and CEO, said he sees great demand for communication towers from wireless carriers trying to keep pace with consumers and businesses using more and more wireless data services.
"We believe the TowerCo assets are high quality, well located and have ample capacity for additional tenants," said Stoops. "The towers are in excellent shape from a legal, systems and operational perspective, and will be readily integrated into our existing portfolio (and) we expect these towers will be in great demand for the future cell-splitting needs of US wireless carriers."
J.P. Morgan agreed to provide up to $900 million in financing commitments for the transaction.
Earlier this year, Boca Raton-based SBA announced that it would buy more than 2,300 antenna tower sites in the U.S. and Central America from Mobilitie LLC for $1.1 billion in cash and stock.
SBA makes money by leasing tower sites to wireless service providers and providing tower site development services. The company owns and operates more than 12,000 towers across North and Central America. It also builds towers at the request of wireless carriers, handling site acquisition, zoning and construction. Currently, SBA manages approximately 5,000 communication site locations on behalf of third-party landlords.
TowerCo, reported to be the fifth largest independent tower company, was founded in 2004 by industry veterans Richard Byrne and Scot Lloyd, backed by Tailwind Capital.
In December 2005 Soros Strategic Partners invested in TowerCo and in September 2008, Vulcan Capital and Altpoint Capital Partners (formerly Stonetower Capital) became equity partners. TowerCo is based in Cary, NC, with an office in Irvine, CA.