SBA Communications to buy more telecom towers from Brazil's Oi

Reuters

Dec 4 (Reuters) - SBA Communications Corp said itwould acquire 2,007 telecom towers from Brazil's Grupo Oi SA for about 1.53 billion reais ($645 million), givingthe U.S. company ownership or control over more than 5,000towers in Brazil.

SBA and its U.S. peers American Tower Corp and CrownCastle International Corp are in a scramble to beef upassets in Brazil ahead of the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016Olympic Games to be hosted there.

American Tower said in August it would acquire about 4,500telecom towers in Brazil and Mexico from Latin American telecomservice provider NII Holdings Inc for $811 million.

SBA said on Wednesday it expected the new towers tocontribute about 110 million reais of cash leasing revenue and$70 million reais of tower cash flow to its results during 2014.

"These are very good sites, concentrated in the mostpopulous areas of Brazil, with demonstrated attractiveness totenants," Chief Executive Jeffrey Stoops said.

The company bought 2,113 towers from Oi in July for about$302.6 million.

SBA started operations in Brazil last December with theacquisition of 800 towers from an unnamed broadband wirelesscarrier for 362.8 million reais.

Oi has been working to reduce debt since it announced itsmerger with Portugal Telecom in October. Net debt at Oiwas 29.3 billion Brazilian reais ($12.58 billion) at the end ofthe third quarter.

Oi's common shares jumped nearly 8 percent to 3.81 reais inSao Paolo. Nasdaq-listed SBA's shares were untraded before thebell.

The deal, which is expected to close by the end of March,will also boost cash available for strategic investments, Oisaid in a filing. SBA will assume the cost of operating,maintaining and expanding the cell towers.

Wireless carriers in Brazil have been making sale-leasebackagreements on their towers to help pay down debts and boostresults in the face of an economic slowdown.

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