Bouygues reportedly close €200M wireless tower sale as debts balloon

Bouygues Telecom is in final negotiations to sell its wireless masts to Antin Infrastructure Partners in an effort to reduce its debt mountain, according to a Bloomberg report, which cited unnamed sources.

The company, France's No. 3 mobile operator confirmed it is in talks in talks with Antin but declined to comment on the size or timing of the deal. The report said Bouygues Telecom could sell almost 2,300 masts sold for around €200 million in the coming weeks.

Parent company Bouygues, which is being advised by Lazard on the sale, is coming under pressure to reduce debt within its telecom division following the acquisition of LTE spectrum licences.

Rating agency Moody's cut the company's A3 credit outlook, the fourth-lowest investment grade, to negative from stable after Bouygues reduced the 2012 profit forecast for its telecom division, reports Bloomberg.

Bouygues Telecom, which is engaged in a heated war-of-words with rival Iliad's Free Mobile, is cutting prices and introducing new services as it loses customers to the cut-price competitor. The operator has already announced it will shed over 550 jobs this year and cut back on marketing and distribution expense to save €300 million.

Antin, which is part-owned by BNP Paribas, has declined to comment on the value or timing of any deal to acquire the masts from Bouygues Telecom.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Telecom Paper article (sub. req.)

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