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By Equity International
March 20, 2017
Equity International ("EI"), the emerging markets-focused investment firm founded by Sam Zell, announced today that it has closed on its first investment in telecommunication infrastructure. EI invested $50 million in Digital Bridge's Andean Tower Partners (ATP), alongside other institutional investors including The Olayan Group and TC Latin America Partners. In aggregate the partnership's capital raise totaled $150 million. ATP owns and operates passive telecom infrastructure solutions through towers, rooftops, small cells, and DAS (distributed antenna systems) that enable mobile connectivity in the Andean region. Proceeds will be used to support ATP's growth in developing mobile and internet infrastructure deployment primarily in Colombia and Peru.
Sam Zell, founder and chairman of EI commented, "In the telecom sector, the emerging markets look a lot like the U.S. did 15 years ago. Demand for mobile and internet service has overwhelmed supply. We see this as a terrific opportunity to apply our ability to institutionalize companies to an asset class that expands the traditional definition of real estate. We're pleased to be doing it with a leading player in the space and exceptionally strong partners."
"We have been targeting the telecommunications infrastructure sector in the region for some time due to highly undersupplied demand for broadband services," said Tom Heneghan, EI's CEO. "We found the optimal partner and opportunity with Digital Bridge. The company's strong sponsorship aligns our mutual interests, and its attractive pipeline provides us with the ability to quickly scale the business. We look forward to supporting our new partner in this endeavor."
ATP was founded by the leadership team at Digital Bridge, a leading owner and operator of mobile and internet infrastructure globally with an extensive two-decade proven track record in the sector in the United States, Mexico, Colombia and Peru. Digital Bridge previously founded and capitalized Mexico Tower Partners in 2013 and Vertical Bridge in 2014. In February 2017, the company closed on an $80 million investment agreement with ISA.
"We are extremely delighted with the success of ATP's first institutional capital raise, which is anchored by experienced and very knowledgeable investors in the sector. With partners such as Equity International, The Olayan Group, and TC Latin America Partners, ATP will continue its expansion and strategic goal to become the leading telecom infrastructure provider in the Andean region," said Marc C. Ganzi, ATP's Chairman.
Gregorio Schneider, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer at TC Latin America Partners, explains, "As the penetration of smartphones increases in the Andean region, investment in cellular towers is key to meeting growing data consumption needs. As part of our real estate investment strategy, we are excited to partner with Digital Bridge in this opportunity, and believe in ATP's growth plans to fill this gap in the region."
About Andean Tower Partners
ATP is a privately-owned provider of wireless communications infrastructure in the Andean region. The company owns, operates and manages telecommunications towers, rooftops, small cells and DAS (distributed antenna systems) solutions for mobile operators. ATP was founded by Digital Bridge and has operations in Colombia and Peru.
About Digital Bridge
Founded in 2013 by Marc C. Ganzi and Ben Jenkins, Digital Bridge is focused on the ownership, investment, and active management of companies in the communications infrastructure sector. Since inception, Digital Bridge has raised over $5.2B USD of debt and equity capital used to acquire and invest in the development of communications infrastructure businesses, including DataBank, ExteNet Systems, Vertical Bridge, Andean Tower Partners, and Mexico Tower Partners.
About Equity International
Equity International (EI), founded by Sam Zell in 1999, invests in high quality operating platforms in the emerging markets. EI's investment and value go beyond its capital by providing its portfolio companies with: institutional credibility, exceptional corporate governance, best practices, a unique operating perspective, and access to a powerful global network. EI employs an active ownership approach, partnering with portfolio company leadership to achieve strategic growth and industry leadership. As a result, EI is recognized as a partner of choice around the world. Web: http://www.equityinternational.com
About TC Latin America Partners
Founded in 2012, TC Latin America Partners is an SEC registered alternative asset management firm headquartered in New York with offices in Bogota, Lima and Mexico City. The firm manages real estate funds investing with an opportunistic approach in residential, commercial and industrial projects. Web: http://www.tclatam.com