Crown Castle Sell UK Broadcasting Business to National Grid

National Grid Transco have had their eyes on Crown Castle’s UK broadcasting and mast operation for some time – and they are about to hand over $2.035 billion (€1.67 billion) for it. The deal is still subject to approvals, but is expected to be finalised on or before September 30th.

Crown Castle’s reason for the sale is that the need US$1.3 billion (€1.06 billion) of the money to pay off a credit facility from CC Operating Company.

“The sale of our UK subsidiary is expected to provide us with significant financial and operational flexibility to pursue opportunities in the larger and faster growing US market,” stated John P. Kelly, CEO of Crown Castle. “While our UK operations have been a solid contributor to our business, we believe there is substantially greater growth potential for our US business given the lower penetration of wireless services and the earlier stage of 3G deployments in the US market. This transaction also substantially improves our balance sheet, which we believe will provide flexibility to capitalize on this growth.”

“As a result of this transaction, we will significantly reduce our net debt, exposure to currency fluctuations and floating interest rate exposure,” said W. Benjamin Moreland, the company’s CFO, in a statement.

The other US$740 million (€608 million) will be invested in new business opportunities in the US and to pay off some other debts.

Crown Castle

National Grid Transco

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?