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Crown Castle plans stock offering, 3Q earnings up

HOUSTON (AP) -- Crown Castle International Corp. said Monday that it plans to offer 36 million common shares and 7.5 million of its series A convertible preferred shares to finance its deal to lease and buy wireless towers from AT&T Inc.

AT&T said Sunday that it will lease about 9,100 towers and sell another 600 to Crown Castle for $4.85 billion in a deal that's expected to close by the end of the year.

Crown Castle operates wireless communications towers across the U.S. and in Australia. The company said if the AT&T deal doesn't close it, will use the proceeds for general corporate purposes such as repaying debt.

Separately, the Houston-based company said it earned $45.8 million, or 16 cents per share, in the third quarter. That's up from $42 million, or 14 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue rose 21 percent to $748.9 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, from $621.3 million last year.

Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of 17 cents per share on revenue of $730.7 million, according to FactSet.

For the current quarter, Crown Castle said it expects earnings of 10 cents to 24 cents per share. Analysts are expecting 17 cents. The outlook does not include any effects of the AT&T deal.

The company also said it plans to pay a quarterly dividend of 35 cents per share starting in the first quarter of 2014.

Crown Castle's shares fell $1.27 to $74.69 in midday trading. AT&T's stock climbed 49 cents to $35.10.