SBA Communications Corp. is on a
mission to set a new standard for the wireless communications industry.
The 11-year-old firm added tower ownership to its core business line-up in
1997 and its quickly become a leader in the industry. Through strategic
acquisitions and build-to-suit contracts with leading wireless carriers,
has accumulated an inventory of more than 1,600
tower sites that are ready and able to deploy broadband wireless services.
TeleCorp PCS, Inc. is AT&T Wireless Group’s
largest affiliate with licenses covering approximately 16.7 million people
in the U.S. Although it’s been rumored that TeleCorp PCS
has caught the eye of AT&T
as a potentially juicy acquisition for the telecom
giant, both firms said no serious discussions have taken place.
With possible takeover bids quelled, SBA sealed a deal on Monday to acquire
up to 275 existing TeleCorp PCS towers and to become the exclusive
build-to-suit provider for wireless firm. The deal is earmarked as SBA’s
largest acquisition to date.
Steven Bernstein, SBA chairman and chief executive officer, said TeleCorp
is one of its primary partners in developing wireless network services.
“We were attracted to the portfolio because TeleCorp’s towers are very
similar to the towers we have been building for SBA — newly constructed,
well-located, multi-tenant capable and engineered for today’s PCS, digital
and data users,” Bernstein said.
Gerald T. Vento, TeleCorp chairman and chief executive officer said today’s
deal was a natural extension of the two’s existing business relationships.
“The sale of these tower assets provides us with additional capital as we
continue to focus on our core business,” Vento said. “We also have the
security and confidence that our future sites will be ready on time and on
TeleCorp currently has more than 142,000 subscribers in selected markets in
the south-central and northeast U.S. and in Puerto Rico. The existing
towers that SBA purchased are predominantly located in Louisiana,
Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas and Puerto Rico.
To seal the deal, SBA will pay TeleCorp $327,500 per tower, or more than
$90.1 million total. TeleCorp PCS will be the first anchor tenant on the
towers for a monthly rental fee of $1,200 per site under a long term lease
The towers currently produce approximately $1.5 million in annualized
rental revenues from other tenants providing wireless communication
services. The towers have the capacity to hold up to 4.5 broadband wireless
tenants per tower.
The build-to-suit portion of the agreement requires that TeleCorp PCS
construct a minimum of 200 new towers for SBA over the next three years.
The wireless infrastructure buildout allows SBA to extend leasing
opportunities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky,
Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin and enter the
wireless communications market in Puerto Rico.
TeleCorp will execute long term leases to place its wireless network
equipment at each site and pay SBA an initial monthly rental fee of $1,300
per site. The first 200 towers will be built under the new agreement, and
up to 200 additional towers may be constructed under an agreement between
the two firms formed in April.
The tower acquisition is subject to due diligence and other contingencies,
and is scheduled for completion early in the first quarter of 2001. The
new build-to-suit agreement is contingent on the closing of the tower