By Clara-Laeila Laudette
MADRID (Reuters) - Swedish private equity fund EQT said on Monday it would sell Spanish telecom provider Adamo to France's Ardian Infrastructure, with two sources in the sector saying the deal's enterprise value was over 1 billion euros ($1.16 billion).
Barcelona-based Adamo provides landline, broadband and mobile services to around 250,000 subscribers with a focus on customers in rural areas, while its fibre network reaches around 1.8 million homes across Spain.
The deal is set to close in the first quarter of 2022, EQT said, with bank UBS acting as lead financial advisor, ING as financial co-advisor and Allen & Overy as legal advisor.
Legacy operator Telefonica is also considering selling a stake in its extensive Spanish fibre network, which could be valued at up to 15 billion euros ($17.37 billion), while grid operator Red Electrica plans to sell part of its own network.
European telcos have been seeking ways to reduce debt and generate cash following years of high costs and dwindling margins, particularly in Spain where telecom firms struggle in a hypercompetitive, fragmented and low-cost climate.
The rural fibre market has shown particular growth, with newcomers such as Avatel - which became Spain's sixth fibre operator after buying 110 local fibre providers between 2020 and 2021 - mulling up to 400 more acquisitions.
($1 = 0.8648 euros)
(Reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette and Nathan Allen, Editing by Louise Heavens and Bernadette Baum)