15 May 2023

Australian pension fund UniSuper acquires stake in Vantage Towers consortium

In November, Vodafone, Vantage Towers' largest shareholder, agreed to sell part of its stake to a consortium that includes KKR and Global Infrastructure Partners, two US private equity firms. Australian superannuation fund UniSuper said on Monday it was buying a 5% stake through KKR for $677 million to expand its portfolio of infrastructure investments.

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Vantage Towers manages the actual infrastructure for installing antennas for mobile signal distribution and currently has a portfolio of more than 83,000 sites in 10 different markets including Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic, where it manages approximately 3,900 sites.

"At Deloitte, we are following with interest the development of Vantage Towers, which we were at the birth of at the turn of 2019 and 2020, helping Vodafone with the spin-off and preparation for the IPO. Even today, infrastructure plays an important role in the overall volume of M&A transactions in telecommunications," said Jan Kudlák, Deloitte TMT leader.

Vodafone has floated the company on the Frankfurt stock exchange as a "carve out", retaining a controlling stake to ensure it continues to benefit from industry consolidation. Last year, Vodafone delisted Vantage Towers and sold 50% to KKR, Global Infrastructure Partners and PIF as part of a strategy to reduce its debt burden.

The deal is further evidence that Australia's growing superannuation sector, the world's fifth largest pension scheme at AUD$3 trillion, is looking for opportunities to expand beyond its home market. For example, another major superannuation fund, Aware Super, established a European office last year and announced its intention to invest AUD16 billion in Europe and the United States over the next three years.