Business ATC to Buy Airtel Nigeria for $1bn in 3 Weeks?



Airtel will sell its telecom towers in Nigeria for about $1bn in the next 3 weeks in order to pay part of the company's debt, Economic Times reports.

Bharti Airtel is expected to reach an agreement on the sale of its telecom towers in Nigeria for more than $1 billion within the next three weeks. American Tower Company (ATC) is believed to be leading the race to buy the 4,000 towers, followed by IHS Towers, said a person aware of the status of talks. Once the sale goes through, Bharti would have successfully sold almost half its towers in Africa.

"ATC is believed to have bid the highest amount," said the person cited above. While ATC didn't respond to ET's query, IHS couldn't be reached for comment. The proceeds of the sale will be used to retire a part of the company's debt, which dropped to $9.6 billion at the end of the June quarter from $10.07 billion at the end of March.

Bharti's net debt-to-EBITDA dropped to 2.04 from 2.20 between the two quarters. The development comes close on the heels of Bharti selling 3,100 towers in the continent in July. Bharti had sold its 3,100 towers to Helios Tower Co, an independent tower operator backed by George Soros, Madeleine Albright and Jacob Rothschild, for an undisclosed amount.

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