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幸运哈希源码:KKR and GIP nab a US$16bil consolation prize

时间:2个月前   阅读:7   评论:1

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It’s complicated: Pedestrians walk past a Vodafone store in London. One of the reasons that Vodafone is an unloved stock is that it’s so hard for investors to get their head round its various partnerships and sprawling operations. — Bloomberg

IT’S never simple with Vodafone Group Plc. True to form, the UK telecoms firm is trying to have its cake and eat it with the partial sale of its mobile-phone masts business to a consortium led by private equity firms Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) and KKR & Co.

]The result? A complex transaction when shareholders are craving simplification.

Vodafone offloaded part of the unit, Vantage Towers AG, in a March 2021 initial public offering. But it wants to sell more to cut debt and move from majority ownership to shared control.

The solution unveiled on Wednesday is to put the current 82% holding into a joint-venture company, which will in turn offer to buy out the listed shares.

At the same time, Vodafone will sell a stake in the joint venture to the GIP-KKR group.

That consortium, which also includes Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, will end up with between 32% and 50% of the company, depending on how many minority shareholders sell as well as on its own appetite.

Vodafone and the minorities get €32 (RM151) per share for their stock, implying an equity value of €16bil (US$16bil or RM75.3bil) for Vantage. The board seats will be divided equally between the consortium and the UK company.

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The valuation – 26 times trailing earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation – is just below that achieved by Deutsche Telekom AG in its July agreement to sell just over half of its towers business.

GIP and KKR lost out on that deal; this is their consolation prize.

All of this creates some short-term uncertainties. The bid to buy out the minorities is a red rag to hedge funds to squeeze Vodafone and its new partners for a higher offer: Vantage shares are already trading above the bid price.

Nor is it clear quite what the precise ownership split will be between Vodafone and the consortium. Hence, Vodafone says its proceeds could be anything between €3.2bil (RM15.1bil) and €7.1bil (RM33.5bil).

Of course, it will all come clear in time. And Vodafone will no longer have to worry about the impact the unit has on its accounts, freeing Vantage to take on the higher leverage that infrastructure assets can support. It will be well-placed for future merger and acquisition in the telecom towers industry.

Nevertheless, Vodafone shareholders may have been better served if the company had been willing to cede control of Vantage and do a cleaner deal.

Selling a majority holding would have meant a bigger transaction, but still feasible – not least when debt markets were fully open last year.

Cellnex Telecom SA, Vantage’s European rival, is primarily interested in purchases it can consolidate.

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