By Manuel Baigorri
An arm of Macquarie Group Ltd. is in advanced talks to buy a portfolio of about 1,350 phone towers from Philippine provider Globe Telecom Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.
The telecommunications firm and the Australian financial giant are in the final stages of hammering out a deal that could be worth about $400 million, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Macquarie is poised to buy the assets after outbidding other rivals including local players and global funds, the people said.
Negotiations are ongoing and could still fall apart, the people said. A Globe representative said they couldn’t comment at this time, and added that they would communicate any material information to the public, while a Macquarie spokesperson declined to comment.
The potential deal follows Globe’s sale of two other tower portfolios to a KKR & Co.-backed company and a Stonepeak joint venture for about 71 billion pesos ($1.2 billion) in August. A consortium consisting of buyout firm Partners Group Holding AG and Aboitiz Group, a conglomerate owned by the billionaire Aboitiz family, had been among the bidders for the two portfolios, Bloomberg News has reported.
Globe, which counts Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. and Filipino conglomerate Ayala Corp. among its largest shareholders, said in August that it was in advanced talks with another tower company for the sale and leaseback of an additional portfolio of about 1,350 towers in Visayas and Mindanao, and expected to conclude negotiations in the third quarter.
Digital infrastructure assets such as telecom towers and data centers have increasingly become targets for deal activity in the region. Globe rival PLDT Inc. sold its towers for about 77 billion pesos in April to Axiata Group Bhd.’s edotco Group Sdn. and EdgePoint Infrastructure Sdn., backed by DigitalBridge Group Inc.
(Updates with comment from the companies in the third paragraph.)
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