Spain’s MasMovil sells majority stake in rural fibre network for $468 mln

MADRID, May 5 (Reuters) – Spanish telecom firm MasMovil sold a majority stake in its fibre optic network covering 1.1 million rural homes across Spain to independent operator Onivia, a spokeswoman for Onivia said on Wednesday.

Onivia’s owners – the funds Macquarie, Aberdeen and Daiwa – have bought a 51% stake in MasMovil’s fibre-to-the-home network (FTTH), which includes over a thousand municipalities with fewer than 25,000 inhabitants, for 390 million euros ($467.77 million), a source close to the deal said.

“MasMovil will retain a 49% stake in the network, and Orange will also be a client, leasing access to at least 750,000 homes,” the source told Reuters on Wednesday.

Onivia also has the option of buying a further share of MasMovil’s network representing 100,000 homes, potentially increasing the final payout for the deal, which was first announced last June but only finalised this week.

The addition of this segment of FTTH will complement Onivia’s mostly urban fibre-optic assets, while doubling its overall network size to 2.1 million homes, the firm said in a statement.

By expanding its infrastructure, neutral fibre-optic operator Onivia appears to be following in the footsteps of Spain-based Cellnex Telecom SA, whose voracious acquisition of mobile phone towers helped it blaze its way to prominence in the European market.

Spain’s highly fragmented and fiercely competitive telecommunications sector is headed for consolidation, having undergone a string of tie-ups of which the most recent is MasMovil’s buyout of rival mobile operator Euskaltel for 3.5 billion euros including debt.

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MasMovil was itself taken private last year by a consortium of U.S. funds in a 3 billion-euro deal. ($1 = 0.8338 euro) (Reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette in Madrid Editing by Nathan Allen and Matthew Lewis)


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