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American Tower Partially Acquires Viom Networks in India

Leading international wireless tower operator American Tower Corp. AMT recently completed its acquisition of a 51% controlling ownership interest in Viom Networks Ltd., a major wireless tower operator in India. The remaining 49% ownership stake will be controlled by the Tata Group and several private equity firms. American Tower will paid INR 76 billion (approximately $1.14 billion) in cash and assumed around INR 51 billion of INR-denominated debt.

Notably, talks between American Tower and Viom Networks have been going on for a couple of years now. Viom Networks operates around 42,000 towers, supporting nearly 100,000 tenancies. Interestingly, India is a lucrative market for wireless tower operators. American Tower owns more than 10,000 towers in the country apart from Viom’s towers.

American Tower has been aggressively expanding its portfolio through acquisitions. In Aug 2015, the company announced the acquisition of nearly 4,700 mobile phone towers from India’s largest telecommunications company – Bharti Airtel Ltd. Also, in Mar 2015, the company closed a deal pertaining to leasing rights of roughly 11,324 wireless towers and acquisition of 165 additional towers from Verizon Communications Inc. VZ.

Globally, the growth in mobile subscribers has significantly boosted the wireless tower industry. Moreover, future financials are likely to be propelled by strong demand for wireless voice, broadband wireless data and video networks, which require more tower space. Deployment of 4G mobile networks necessitates the expansion of coverage and infrastructure by carriers. At the end of 2015, American Tower owned or operated over 100,000 towers and nearly 500 distributed antenna system networks globally.

Going forward, we believe that American Tower’s insistent buyout of towers especially in emerging markets should help drive its top line and also lend it a competitive edge over rivals like Crown Castle International Corp. CCI and SBA Communications Corp. SBAC. American Tower currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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AMER TOWER CORP (AMT): Free Stock Analysis Report
CROWN CASTLE (CCI): Free Stock Analysis Report
SBA COMM CORP (SBAC): Free Stock Analysis Report
VERIZON COMM (VZ): Free Stock Analysis Report
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