10 Nov 2022

Linklaters, Latham, Orrick and Hengeler advise on €16bn Vodafone, GIP and KKR telecoms joint venture

Vodafone is expected to raise at least €3.2bn after selling part of its stake in German telecoms business Vantage Towers

A photo of mobile communication towers

Vantage Towers is Europe's largest operator of mobile phone masts Shutterstock

Linklaters, Latham & Watkins, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe and German firm Hengeler Mueller have advised on Vodafone’s part sale of its stake in German telecoms infrastructure business Vantage Towers to a fund consortium led by private equity firms Global Infrastructure Partners and KKR.

Linklaters advised Vodafone while Latham & Watkins advised the fund consortium, with Hengeler providing further advice to KKR. Orrick advised Vantage Towers. The deal will see Vodafone transfer its 81.7% stake in Vantage Towers to a new joint venture holding company, which will be indirectly co-controlled by Vodafone and the consortium. The fund consortium could eventually own up to 50% of the shares.

The holding company is launching a voluntary public takeover offer for all outstanding shares not currently owned by Vodafone, offering €32 a share—a roughly €4 premium on where Vantage Towers was trading at the end of last week. The deal values Vantage Towers at €16bn, according to Reuters, with proceeds from the sale expected to raise at least €3.2bn for Vodafone, which it says will be used to reduce debt. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.

Nick Read, Vodafone CEO, said: “This transaction successfully delivers on Vodafone’s stated aims of retaining co-control over a strategically important asset, deconsolidating Vantage Towers from our balance sheet to ensure we can optimise its capital structure and generate substantial upfront cash proceeds for the group to support our priority of deleveraging.”.

Linklaters' team was led by Düsseldorf-based European Head of corporate/M&A Kristina Klaaßen-Kaiser, fellow corporate partner Stephan Oppenhoff (Frankfurt) and counsel Christoph van Lier (Düsseldorf).

The Hengeler team advising KKR was led by Düsseldorf M&A partner Christian Schwandtner with support from M&A partner Martin Ulbrich (also in Düsseldorf), Brussels-based antitrust partner Markus Röhrig and public law partner Jan Bonhage in Berlin. Antitrust counsel Anja Balitzki and corporate counsel Matthias Cloppeburg were also on the deal alongside associates Oda Goetzke, Lech Kopczyński and Anton Petrov.

The Orrick team was led by Wilhelm Nolting-Hauff, Oliver Duys and Nikita Tkatchenko.

Will Brilliant, partner and head of digital infrastructure at GIP, said: “As strategic partners with Vodafone and KKR, we will bring our deep infrastructure expertise and resources to help the company deliver the best data connectivity for individuals and businesses and contribute to enabling Europe’s digital future in the interest of all stakeholders.”

Last month, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Norway-based Selmer advised KKR’s on its acquisition of a minority stake in Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor’s fibre network spin-off Telenor Fiber.
 

 

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