American Tower set to purchase land under 1,800 sites for $500M


American Tower Corp. (AMT) is moving forward with land acquisition plans, announcing a deal with Unison Holdings L.L.C. and Unison Site Management II L.L.C. to purchase the property interests under approximately 1,800 cell sites for $500 million.
American Tower said it expects the deals to close later this year, with the purchase price including $304 million in cash and the assumption of $196 million in debt.
Wells Fargo Securities L.L.C. senior analyst Gray Powell, noted the deal was a “modest positive” for the tower company as it shows progress on its land purchase program and could help American Tower bolster its margins and free cash flow profile.
American Tower noted last month that it planned to merge with American Tower REIT Inc. in a move to further its position as a real estate investment trust. American Tower said it expects to elect REIT status beginning Jan. 1, but noted it is not certain. Choosing to become a REIT gives companies favorable federal tax status but they are required to pay out a substantial portion of their income in dividends.
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Dan Meyer

Editor-in-Chief, Telecom Software, Policy, Wireless Carriers
Dan Meyer started at RCR Wireless News in 1999 covering wireless carriers and wireless technologies. As editor-in-chief, Dan oversees editorial direction, reports on news from the wireless industry, including telecom software, policy and wireless carriers, and provides opinion stories on topics of concern to the market such as his popular Friday column “Worst of the Week.”