DigitalBridge Group, through its private equity fund Digital Colony Partners II, via the entity ITP ehf, today announced that it has completed the acquisition of the macro tower portfolios, comprising 367 sites, from two of Iceland’s largest wireless carriers, Sýn hf (formerly Vodafone Iceland) and Nova hf, creating a new company called ÍslandsTurnar.
Transaction Overview – DigitalBridge Forms ÍslandsTurnar
DigitalBridge’s ITP ehf, a holding company, acquired the entity S8108 ehf from Sýn, as well as the entity Nova Sendastaðir ehf from Nova. While the acquired companies will remain independent legal entities that own their respective assets, they will operate as a single financial entity under the full control of ITP, which will brand the business ÍslandsTurnar (Iceland Towers in English).
Sýn hf is a publicly-traded company on the Nasdaq Iceland stock exchange. Whereas Nova hf is 94.5%-owned by private equity firm Pt Capital, through its vehicle Pt Arctic Fund I. Previously, Pt Capital’s joint venture partner, Novator Partners, was a shareholder in Nova, up until September 2021.
DigitalBridge’s purchase terms of the two tower site portfolios has been partially disclosed by Sýn and can be further evaluated based on local media reports. Overall, DigitalBridge acquired the two portfolios for a reported $100m USD (ISK 13bn), equivalent to $272k per site. Below are further details on the individual transactions:
- Sýn: nearly 200 sites for a disclosed purchase price of $53m USD (ISK 6.94bn), equivalent to $265k per site
- Nova: 167 sites for an implied purchase price of $47m USD (ISK 6.06bn), equivalent to $281k per site
The Icelandic Competition Authority notes that there are about 1.0k to 1.1k tower sites in operation in Iceland. Therefore, Sýn and Nova’s combined portfolio of 367 sites represents a 33% to 37% market share in the country.
In addition to Sýn and Nova’s sites, the other major owner of tower infrastructure in Iceland is Míla (Síminn), which is in the process of being acquired by Ardian Infrastructure.
ÍslandsTurnar – Overview
DigitalBridge acquired the passive infrastructure from Sýn and Nova, including ground-based towers and rooftop sites. However, all active equipment, such as antennas and cables, remained with the wireless carriers.
By forming ÍslandsTurnar, DigitalBridge owns the first independent tower company of scale in Iceland. Notably, ÍslandsTurnar’s tower infrastructure offers national coverage for wireless carriers.
ÍslandsTurnar’s largest customers and long-term anchor tenants are Sýn and Nova. Both companies have signed master service agreements (MSAs) for their use of all of ÍslandsTurnar’s towers. For example, Sýn disclosed in its Q4 2020 results that it had signed heads of terms regarding a sale and leaseback of passive mobile infrastructure on a 20-year lease term. Additionally, the transaction includes a “material” build-to-suit (BTS) program for ÍslandsTurnar.
Overall, ÍslandsTurnar is supporting both Sýn and Nova in their operation of wireless networks as well as accelerating their 5G network deployments. At the same time, ÍslandsTurnar will also offer access on its passive infrastructure to third-parties, including Sýn and Nova’s competitors and other communications companies.
DigitalBridge has appointed Joakim Reynisson as Chief Executive Officer of ÍslandsTurnar. Prior to this role, Reynisson was Chief Technology Officer of Nova for 10+ years.
Transaction Advisors – DigitalBridge, ÍslandsTurnar
DigitalBridge’s financial advisor was Oakley Advisory. Additionally, DigitalBridge’s legal advisor was Linklaters. Finally, DigitalBridge’s debt arranger was Kvika.
DigitalBridge – Nordics Tower Infrastructure
DigitalBridge’s formation of ÍslandsTurnar expands the firm’s tower infrastructure presence in the Nordics. In addition to Iceland, and within the Nordics, DigitalBridge also owns tower infrastructure in Finland.
Since 2018, DigitalBridge, through its private equity fund Digital Colony Partners I, has owned Digita Oy, an independent tower operator in Finland. Presently, Digita owns 630 broadcast and telecommunication towers in Finland, which cover 100% of the country’s population. The company’s customers include TV & radio broadcasters and wireless carriers.