It was announced that Brookfield Asset Management, a Canadian company, plans to purchase the Indian operations of the American Tower Corporation (ATC) for $2.5 billion. This acquisition will make it the top telecom tower operator in the country.
ATC initiated operations in India in 2007 and presently governs approximately 75,000 sites throughout the nation. Now, these sites will become part of Brookfield’s existing digital infrastructure in India. This includes Summit Digitel, Crest Digitel, and Roam Digitel, all of which are guided by what’s known as the Brookfield’s Digital Infrastructure Trust.
Notably, Summit Digitel controls an impressive 177,000 towers. Crest Digitel has a focus on small cells and in-building connectivity, and the newly formed Roam Digitel is expected to pay particular attention to tower acquisition as well as construction.
Furthermore, the combination of ATC’s Indian towers with Summit Digitel’s could notably boost the latter’s portfolio. It may expand to more than a quarter of a million tower sites, which would create the world’s second-largest independent tower company.
Arpit Agrawal, Brookfield’s Managing Director and Head of Infrastructure in India and the Middle East, commented, “We look forward to expanding and enhancing our existing telecom tower portfolio in India. Strategic acquisitions like ATC India demonstrate our commitment to empowering digital connectivity and transforming the telecom infrastructure landscape across the region.”
Still, before any of this can proceed, the transaction requires government and regulatory approval. If all goes well, it is expected to occur in the latter part of the year.
This acquisition comes in the wake of ATC’s strategic review of its Indian operations, which started in 2023. A key client of ATC, Vodafone Idea, has been grappling with profitability issues for some time now. It has recently written down the company’s value by $322 million.
The telecom sector in India is second in size only to China, boasting over 1 billion subscribers. This makes it a highly attractive prospect for digital infrastructure investors. In fact, this is Brookfield’s third acquisition in the Indian telecom sector. In previous years, they bought Reliance Jio’s tower assets for $2.66 billion and later procured 5,000 small cell sites and business solution sites to advance 5G coverage nationwide.