France’s TDF explores fibre unit sale for upwards of 1 billion euros – sources
By Andres Gonzalez and Amy-Jo Crowley
LONDON (Reuters) – French telecoms firm TDF is studying options for its fibre business including a sale, four people familiar with the matter told Reuters, in a deal that could value the fibre unit upwards of 1 billion euros.
TDF, backed by Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management among others, has drafted in bankers at BNP Paribas to start the sale process in October, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The sellers are looking for as much as 1.3 billion to 1.6 billion euros for the fibre unit, according to one of the people, a price that buyers may find difficult to swallow.
TDF, BNP Paribas and Brookfield declined to comment.
TDF – a former unit of France’s leading telecoms operator Orange – provides broadcasting, fibre and telecoms infrastructure with some of its radio antennas sitting on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The sale comes amid a wave of telecom infrastructure deals in Europe, as investors seek to capitalize on growing demand of digital services.
In April, Brookfield paused the sale of its 45% stake in TDF to Sweden’s EQT Partners in a deal that could have valued the group at 8 billion euros or more, according to Les Echos.
Three other investment firms – PSP Investments, APG Asset Management NV and Arcus Infrastructure Partners – control a combined 45% stake while Credit Agricole Assurances (CAA) owns the remaining 10%. CAA declined to comment, while the other investors did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
The fibre unit’s EbitdaAL, which deducts the cost of the leases from EBITDA, reached 28.7 million euros last year up from 21.6 million euros a year earlier, while revenues grew 42.8% to 52 million euros, according to TDF’s latest annual results.
Two of the sources said the fibre unit’s valuation will depend on the number of homes connected to fibre, market penetration and growth rate.
(Reporting by Andres Gonzalez and Amy-Jo Crowley; editing by Jonathan Oatis)