Fund held by António Pires de Lima and Sérgio Monteiro acquires a share of Altice towers in Portugal 2019-06-20, Observador

Fund managed by António Pires de Lima and Sérgio Monteiro is associated with the Morgan Stanley consortium that has agreed to buy Altice's telecommunications towers. Operation valued at 495 million euros.

Altice's telecommunications towers in Portugal will be sold to a consortium made up of investment bank Morgan Stanley and a fund managed by two former Portuguese Minister and Secretary of State, António Pires de Lima and Sérgio Monteiro.

The agreement has already been confirmed by the French group that announced on Tuesday the sale of towers in Portugal and France for 2.5 billion euros. The acquisition in Portugal will be made by Morgan Stanley's infrastructure division and the Horizon Equity Partners fund, an entity created in 2017 by the former Economy Minister and former Secretary of State of Infrastructures, Transport and Communications during PSD / CDS Government.

The operation in Portugal involves the acquisition of 75% of Towers of Portugal, a company valued at 660 million euros. The transaction is valued at 495 million euros (75% of the value of the company), however, the fund managed by Sérgio Monteiro and António Pires de Lima will have a stake of less than 10% and has a one-year term to realize this investment, according to information gathered by Observador.

Towers of Portugal, an entity created for this transaction, will have 2,961 towers currently operated by Altice Portugal, the owner of PT Portugal which will keep 25% of the company.

PT Portugal has reached an agreement with the consortium, which includes Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners and Horizon Equity Partners, for the sale of 75% of the tower company to be incorporated (“Towers of Portugal” or ToP) which comprises 2961 sites operated by Altice Portugal, ” stated Altice.

The French group added that there is an additional agreement for 400 new towers between MEO and ToP that could generate another 60 million euros for MEO over the next four years. The agreement between MEO (which will operate the towers) and ToP will have a duration of 20 years.

The sale of the telecommunication towers in Europe by the French group was announced last year as part of Altice restructuring plan and in response to doubts about the company's economic viability that led to sharp fall in the stock market. The proceeds will be used to reduce the debt of the group founded by Patrick Drahi. This divestment took place days after Altice gave up of buying Media Capital in Portugal, invoking delays and obstacles to the operation from the Competition Authority.

Monteiro was responsible for telecommunications, but said it did not interfere in the sale of PT

Horizon Equity was incorporated in May 2017 with a share capital of 50 thousand euros, two managing partners and head office at Rua Ivens (Chiado). However, the fund that will invest in Altice towers will be headquartered in Luxembourg and will have institutional investors who, in this first stage, are all Portuguese, stated Observador. Horizon Equity aims to invest in infrastructure and regulated business in Portugal, especially in the energy and healthcare sector, intending to attract investors outside of Portugal. Altice's towers will be its first investment.

Expresso had already announced that the Morgan Stanley-led consortium for this deal also involved an infrastructure investment fund sponsored by two former PSD / CDS Government members.

Sérgio Monteiro was Secretary of State of Infrastructures, Transport and Communications between 2011 and 2015 and António Pires de Lima was Minister of Economy between 2013 and 2015. Both were responsible for the telecommunications sector, however, they did not have a say on the sale of PT Portugal to Altice group, which took place in 2015, at a time when the State no longer had any role in the telecommunications operator.

In November 2014, Sérgio Monteiro stated in an interview that he had received all funds interested in PT that showed interest in being received. He assured that it would not interfere with the business. The Portuguese State gave away its the golden share in former Portugal Telecom in 2011. According to Expresso, the acquisition of Altice towers, would be the first deal of the fund founded by two former Government members who, in May , would still be trying to raise funds.

After leaving the Government, Sérgio Monteiro was hired by Banco de Portugal to promote the sale of Novo Banco, a deal closed at the end of last year. Monteiro was also a member of Caixa Banco de Investimento and was even appointed to be the chairman of the CGD group bank.

António Pires de Lima was hired last year by a private equity firm, Advent International, based in the United States. News announced that Pires de Lima would advise potential investments in the Portuguese market of this company. However, the former Portuguese minister's name is not on their website as part of the team.

Observador confirmed that Perella was associated with the operation acting as financial advisor to Morgan Stanley's infrastructure division. This financial boutique was hired by the state during the PSD / CDS government as a consultant for the privatization of EDP and REN, a decision contested by some Portuguese investment banks. Paulo Cartuxa Pereira, a Portuguese who works at Perella Weinberg, already worked at Morgan Stanley in their telecommunications M&A division.

Fund held by António Pires de Lima and Sérgio Monteiro acquires a share of Altice towers in Portugal
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