Niel's Swiss unit said to put telecom towers up for sale
A Swiss telecommunications company controlled by Eir's French billionaire owner, Xavier Niel, is selling a portfolio of wireless towers valued at as much as $1bn, according to people familiar with the matter.
Indicative bids were due this week for Salt Mobile's 2,700 towers, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the matter is private.
The towers have drawn interest from infrastructure investors and private equity funds, the people said. No final decisions have been made and Salt may decide to retain the portfolio, they said.
A representative for Salt Mobile had no immediate comment. European phone carriers are selling the assets to free up cash and focus on their core operations. Infrastructure investors are drawn to towers because they offer a steady stream of income and predictable returns.
Sunrise Communications Group agreed to sell its Swiss phone towers to a group of investors led by Cellnex Telecom in 2017. Niel's French carrier, Iliad, is also looking for investment partners for 5,700 mobile towers in France. Salt Mobile, controlled by Niel's private holding company NJJ Capital, has more than 1.2 million subscribers. Formerly known as Orange Communications, it changed its name in 2015 after Niel acquired it.