British mast owner Arqiva on the block and attracting international attention

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Porter (G4OYX), who shares the following item from The Telegraph:

An array of international infrastructure investors from the US, Asia and Europe are sizing up the £6bn mobile and broadcasting mast giant Arqiva as its current owners prepare to put the company on the block.

The crucial infrastructure provider, currently owned by Macquarie and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), is being eyed by at least half a dozen buyers, City sources said.

Discussions are at a preliminary stage, with a formal process to begin in the next few weeks, but known suitors include CKI, the Hong Kong-listed holding company controlled by Asia’s richest man Li Ka-shing. […]

Continue reading at The Telegraph.

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3 thoughts on “British mast owner Arqiva on the block and attracting international attention

  1. Carl

    This company is a dog. Its primary growth driver is cellular build-out, and the infrastructure is basically all built out, tower-wise. Future mass network upgrades will involve the radio equipment on, and the fiber away from, the towers themselves. TV/radio installations are a shrinking profit center, because of internet distribution of content. That leaves site leases and maintenance contracts as the company’s primary revenue stream. Even that isn’t as steady as it sounds, as the emergence of ‘micro-cell’ sites on power utility poles, buildings and water tanks will put downward pricing pressure on tower site leases.

    The fact that the Canadian Pension has been publicized as looking to unload its investment is going to scare-off a lot of potential buyers, since big pension funds are the class of institution which would typically be interested in a long-term, utility-like (ie, steady dividends) equity. I don’t know what the feasibility is for a future trans-national consolidation of similar ventures, but that could make the company intriguing, if the sale price is low enough.

  2. Dave Porter

    As an ex-BBC TX engineer and then as a member of the first privatised successor on the HF / Overseas broadcasting company Merlin Communictions followed by VT Communications and later Babcock International I feel qualified to add that the Telegraph article is slightly incorrect when it states that Arqiva is the only supplier in the UK. To the BBC for domestic services it is but to the BBC in general then it it not of course as Babcock are there for the overseas services.

    Good points from DL4NO in Germany and I guess the same will happen here unless the BBC have it screwed down at the beginning.


  3. DL4NO

    I see such decisions as very badly thought out: Telecommunication is essential infrastructure of a country.

    Here in Germany we are “one step ahead”: Most of the German broadcast transmitter infrastructure was sold to Freenet last year. This spring Freenet decided on much higher rents for VHF audio broadcast services. Our regulatory body (Bundesnetzagentur) intervened. Now Freenet more or less wants to shut down the FM broadcast infrastructure in 2018 because DAB+ is much cheaper to operate.


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