Phoenix Tower International (PTI) has expanded its reach into small cells in the United States with the purchase of Syscom Telecom, which manages and markets more than 80,000 sites
for small cell and macro cell deployments with various small cell master agreements in place with wireless operators.
“PTI has been evaluating opportunities to back a small cell focused team in the United States as a way to help our customers with their next generation deployments” stated Dagan Kasavana, CEO of Phoenix Tower International.
PTI is mostly known as a multi-national tower owner, owning or managing more than 5,500 sites in South America, Caribbean, Central America and Mexico. But, recently, PTI has diversified with investments across the Americas, including the acquisition of fiber in Mexico, the DAS investment in Fast Site Solutions in Central America, and the small cell investment in Syscom LatAm in South America.
The key to expanding into other areas, such as small cells, is to find the right team with a differentiated offering, Kasavana said.
“We felt like these 80,000 nontraditional sites [of Syscom Telecom], which might have been seen as too small to hold a macro installation, are the perfect capacity, size and height for small cell installations. That was a way to differentiate our offering and we saw that the Syscom Telecom team over the last few years has major inroads with the carriers,” he said.
With the deployment of 5G in the offing, carriers are developing dense networks of thousands of small cells. An estimated 80 percent of all new sites will be small cells in the near future. Kasavana said the timing is right to get into the small cell space.
Although the carriers have been self-performing to meet their small cell needs, Don Van Splunteren, global vice president of sales, said, they will need third-party help to meet the estimated small cell needs for 5G.
“The carriers are going to need partners that understand not only their roadmap from 4G to 5G but also the complexity that a small cell network brings with it,” he said. “We need to offer them the infrastructure in a plug-and-play way and take the complexity out of the equation.”
An essential component of small cell deployment is using a centralized RAN architecture with a tower as the hub. We continue to believe that small cells built around a tower can leverage the C-RAN architecture for the network needs. Tower are going to be an essential component of ongoing 4G deployment and most assuredly 5G,” Kasavana said.
Phoenix Tower International (PTI) has closed a $200 million senior secured credit facility with Goldman Sachs Specialty Lending Group to continue its growth in the United States.
“This latest refinancing gives us a well-capitalized business plan to continue our growth in the United States with a strong lender group” stated Dagan Kasavana, Chief Executive Officer of Phoenix Tower International. He continued, “We see various opportunities to expand in the United States through traditional macro tower construction and acquisitions as well as through small cell deployments to further help our customers grow their networks to meet consumer demands. This facility will allow us to accomplish both initiatives with dedicated financing in place”.
The credit facility was led by Goldman Sachs Specialty Lending Group. The facility is a landmark transaction for PTI’s continued focus on being a leading provider of infrastructure assets. The credit facility provides financing on PTI’s existing wireless infrastructure, new tower development, and growth of its small cell business.
PTI was represented by Locke Lord. Goldman Sachs Specialty Lending Group was represented by King & Spalding. Terms of the transaction remain confidential between the parties.
Blackstone Tactical Opportunities have sold a minority stake in Phoenix Tower International to John Hancock.
The stake was acquired by John Hancock Life Insurance Company and the John Hancock Infrastructure Fund, a private equity fund with $2 billion of committed capital, is managed by the power and infrastructure team.
“Providing growth capital to outstanding management teams is a hallmark of Blackstone’s investments in the mobile and internet infrastructure sector,” said Jasvinder Khaira, a senior managing director in Blackstone’s Tactical Opportunities Group. “The exceptional growth of PTI has made it the leading private tower company in the Americas and we are thrilled to have John Hancock join us as partners as we continue to grow the business.”
“We are pleased to expand our telecommunications infrastructure platform with an investment in PTI,” said Recep Kendircioglu, senior managing director of the John Hancock Power and Infrastructure Group and Portfolio Manager of JHIF, an infrastructure Fund on Manulife’s Private Markets platform. “We have confidence in the future of the telecom infrastructure space, PTI’s management team and are pleased to work with Blackstone’s Tactical Opportunities Group to the benefit of our investors.”
Dagan Kasavana, PTI’s CEO, said, “I am incredibly proud to have Blackstone and John Hancock as PTI’s investors. The powerful combination of these two firms provides PTI with the support it needs to continue deploying capital globally.”
Tim Culver, PTI’s Chairman, said: “Both Blackstone and John Hancock are partners that share PTI’s values and vision to position PTI as the leading wireless infrastructure platform to serve our customers, employees and business partners.”
PTI, a wireless tower operator in the Americas, was founded in 2013 by Dagan Kasavana, with a mission to own and operate high quality wireless infrastructure assets in global markets experiencing strong growth. Blackstone Tactical Opportunities invested in PTI in 2014. With 120 employees and headquartered in Boca Raton, FL, PTI manages over 3,500 owned sites (including sites under contract), over 2,500 managed sites under marketing rights agreements and 974 km of fiber in 10 countries.
Blackstone was advised by Guggenheim Securities and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. John Hancock was advised by TAP Advisors and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
Phoenix Tower International (PTI) has closed a long term Latin American credit facility between its subsidiaries in Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Colombia and Peru and a consortium of lenders led by Scotiabank and joined by Banco General, ING Capital, Popular Bank, Towerbank International and Metrobank, S.A. The credit facility provides financing on PTI’s existing wireless infrastructure, new tower development and acquisitions across PTI’s existing six (6) Latin America markets as well as many additional Latin America markets.
“The closing of this credit facility with Scotiabank provides PTI significant growth capital to continue to grow its business across Latin America. Scotiabank is a market leader in tower financing in Latin America and we are excited to close this ground breaking facility with a fantastic bank group representing many banks that have partnered with PTI historically over the years as we continue our expansion across the region” stated Dagan Kasavana, Chief Executive Officer of Phoenix Tower International.
PTI was represented by Lockelord, Nassar Abogados and Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee . Scotiabank was represented by White & Case, Zurcher, Odio & Raven and Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega. Terms of the transaction remain confidential between the parties.
August 6, 2015 — Apparently T-Mobile did not sell all of its towers to Crown Castle back in 2012. This week, the carrier entered into a contract to sell the rights to more than 600 wireless communication tower sites to Phoenix Tower International, which will have the exclusive right to manage and operate the sites via its local U.S. subsidiaries.
Dagan Kasavana, Phoenix Tower International CEO, said the T-Mobile tower locations are well situated for additional lease-up opportunities. Terms of the transaction remain confidential, industry sources estimate the deal at between $150 million and $175 million.
Private companies have dominated the M& A market in 2015. The Phoenix Tower deal follows the Vertical Bridge’s purchase of towers owned by CiG Wireless, U.S. Cellular and iHeartRadio, as well as NTELOS’ tower sale to Grain Management and CTI Towers’ sale to InSite Wireless.
“It’s interesting that we are seeing private companies stepping up and beating public companies in these transactions,” said Clayton Funk, managing director, Media Venture Partners.
Prior to co-founding Phoenix Tower International, Kasavana and Natalya Kashirina (VP of M&A), were involved in mergers and acquisitions of U.S.-based Global Tower Partners. Phoenix has owned a small portfolio of U.S. towers in the United States, but this is its first material domestic acquisition.
“The [Phoenix Tower] management team has significant experience operating and leasing tower sites in the United States and is thrilled to have a significant portfolio of high quality sites in the United States to offer to our customers,” Kasavana.
Furthermore, this transaction represents another milestone in Phoenix Tower’s expansion and allows us to service our customer’s strategic needs across the Americas.”
The U.S. tower acquisition was preceded by Phoenix Towers’ acquisition of T4U Holding Brasil by Phoenix Tower in June. T4U’s towers will be merged into Phoenix Tower’s existing Brazilian tower business, Phoenix Tower do Brasil, which will own and operate 529 wireless infrastructure assets with a pipeline of more than 250 wireless towers under construction.
Including Phoenix Tower do Brasil, the T-Mobile acquisition brings Phoenix Tower’s total site count to 1,600 towers.
In September 2014, Phoenix Tower International acquired American Tower’s Panamanian business, which consisted of 60 telecommunications sites. Founded in 2013, Phoenix Tower has operations in Costa Rica, Panama, Dominican Republic, Colombia, the United States and Brazil.