PROVIDENCE – Providence Equity Partners LLC is scrapping a plan to sell Brazilian mobile-phone tower operator Grupo TorreSur after bids fell short of its expectations, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Potential bidders had included U.S. tower companies, said the people, who asked not to be named because the decision is private. TorreSur was expected to fetch $2 billion, a person said in June.
Providence Equity was exploring the sale with three other Brazilian tower companies also on the block. American Tower Corp. last month agreed to buy BR Towers for about $1 billion, and Tim Participacoes SA, the mobile-phone provider owned by Telecom Italia SpA, has hired Morgan Stanley for its own sale of towers for about $1 billion, people familiar with the matter have said.
Andrew Cole, a Providence Equity spokesman at Sard Verbinnen & Co., declined to comment.
TorreSur, which leases tower space to telecommunications providers, is the fastest growing operator of its type in Latin America, as well as the largest independent wireless tower company in Brazil, according to its website. It owns and operates more than 6,000 towers.
Tower buyers have been drawn to Brazil as consumers in the country buy more smartphones and demand faster Internet access, prompting some companies to bid on wireless infrastructure to profit from the industry. Mobile-phone companies have also been selling their infrastructure to tower operators, leasing back the space they need, to reduce maintenance costs and raise money for other network investments.
Oi SA, Brazil’s biggest phone company, said last month it agreed to sell 1,641 towers to SBA Communications Corp. for 1.17 billion reais ($527 million).
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