Ardian Infrastructure, a French private equity firm, today announced that it has agreed to acquire 100% of Míla ehf, an owner and operator of fiber, fixed networks, and wireless sites in Iceland, from Síminn Group, one of Iceland’s three major wireless carriers. Post-transaction, Síminn will remain Míla’s long-term anchor tenant, following completion of a sale-and-leaseback agreement with Ardian Infrastructure.
Ardian Infrastructure is purchasing Míla for an enterprise value of $605m USD (ISK 78bn), which includes the assumption of Míla’s debt, and implies a valuation of 17.1x EBITDAaL. In terms of consideration, Ardian Infrastructure will pay Síminn $341m USD (ISK 44bn) in cash and $116m USD (ISK 15bn) in the form of a bond that Síminn will grant to Ardian for three years.
Finally, Ardian Infrastructure has invited several Icelandic pension funds to co-invest in its acquisition of Míla. Specifically, these Icelandic pension funds can acquire up to 20% of Míla either through direct participation or through domestic investment funds.
Míla – Overview
Míla owns a network comprised of fixed broadband, mobile access, and backhaul covering the entirety of Iceland. Notably, Míla’s digital infrastructure includes both passive and active equipment, which can be distinguished as follows:
- Passive Infrastructure: fiber optic cables, copper lines, tower masts, microwave backhaul radio links
- Active Equipment: radio access network (RAN) equipment, antennas
Fiber and Fixed Network
Míla has deployed fiber connections to households in the Reykjavík area, Iceland’s capital city. Additionally, the company has started laying fiber connections around the country, in towns including Akureyri, Húsavík, Egilsstaðir, Selfoss, and Reykjanesbær.
Míla’s main fiber network spans 1.1k miles (1.8k kilometers). However, the company’s total optical fiber in its core network is in excess of 2.5k miles (4.0k kilometers).
Míla operates 500+ sites across Iceland, which includes antennas on the outside of buildings and ground-based towers.
Open Access Wholesale Network
Míla provides telecommunications services via its fiber, mobile, and backhaul network on an open access wholesale basis to Síminn, as well as third-party operators in Iceland, such as Sýn (formerly Vodafone Iceland) and Nova. Under Ardian Infrastructure’s ownership, Míla will transition to become a ‘fully independent’ wholesale provider.
As an independent, wholesale infrastructure provider, Míla will increase the competition within Iceland’s telecommunications market.
Míla – Ardian Infrastructure Backs Growth Strategy
Ardian Infrastructure will invest in Míla’s plan to improve Iceland’s connectivity through the roll-out of additional fiber and 5G technology.
- Fiber: Míla will focus on laying fiber-optic cables in rural and smaller municipalities of Iceland. Particularly, the company will deploy fiber to 13k addresses in rural towns and villages of Iceland that are currently without fiber-optic connections
- 5G: Míla will build a nationwide 5G wireless network in Iceland using equipment from manufacturer Ericsson
For Ardian Infrastructure, Míla represents a long-term investment to benefit from the coverage and connectivity improvements brought by this fiber and 5G deployment. Indeed, Ardian Infrastructure recently made a similar long-term commitment to Adamo Telecom, backing its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) roll-out in Spain.
Transaction Advisors – Síminn
Síminn’s financial advisors were Lazard and Bank of Iceland (Íslandsbanki). Additionally, Síminn’s legal advisor was LOGOS Legal Services.