The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) said that discussions over the acquisition of Eaton Towers by American Tower Corporation (ATC) in Uganda have begun, reports the Monitor. The transaction is expected to be concluded by the end of 2019 and would see ATC acquire 1,460 towers from Eaton in Uganda. The UCC hosted the talks and said the multilateral engagements are aimed at reviewing the acquisition along with the commercial and competition issues that may arise.
On 30 May, ATC announced a plan to acquire Eaton Towers, including its debt, at an estimated cost of USD 1.85 billion. Jim Taiclet, the ATC CEO, said the transaction would augment the company’s existing footprint in Africa, and enable it to take better advantage of the growth opportunity in Africa as 4G equipment is deployed.
Uganda currently has only two tower companies, Eaton and ATC, from which operators hire network capacity.
ATC will also acquire tower sites in Kenya, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Niger, according to information from towerXchange. Eaton acquired 400 towers from Warid Telecom in 2012 while MTN and ATC created the joint venture ATC Uganda in 2011, which acquired all the MTN towers.
MTN holds a 49 percent stake in ATC, which acquired all its 1,000 towers at a cost of USD 175 million in 2012. However, the company has since added approximately 280 tower sites to the network. MTN and ATC’s terms of operation are still being investigated by UCC amid claims that MTN has preferential treatment over other telecoms.