Funds push Vodafone for $16 billion infrastructure deal

Telecommunication antennas - Bucharest

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Vantage Towers (OTCPK:VTWRF) is 15.1% higher in over-the-counter trading following a report that infrastructure funds have approached Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) about investing in its $16 billion communications tower spin-off.

Vodafone, though, prefers an industry merger, Reuters reports.

The telecom has received unsolicited proposals from bidders including Brookfield and Global Infrastructure Partners that come at a premium to Vantage's current valuation and seek a majority stake, according to the report.

Vodafone still owns 81% of Vantage Towers after listing the infrastructure unit in Germany last year, and it's been reluctant to engage with financial investors rather than seek an industry merger with another tower unit: It's pointed to DFMG from Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY -2.3%) or Totem from Orange (ORAN -2.4%).

"The next stage (for Vantage) should be an industrial merger, bringing our towers with another large player, a like-minded player, a like-minded operator," says Vodafone's Nick Read.

As for giving up majority control, there's "plenty of room for us to monetize down while staying in co-control of that entity with that like-minded player."

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