Milbank LLP advised telecommunications provider PLDT Inc. (“PLDT”) and its subsidiaries, Smart Communications, Inc. (“Smart”) and Digitel Mobile Philippines, Inc., in the sale of 5,907 telecom towers and related passive infrastructure to subsidiaries of international groups edotco Group and EdgePoint Infrastructure (“EdgePoint”). Priced at PHP77 billion or approximately US$1.5 billion, the transaction will be the largest-ever acquisition of domestic Philippine assets by international investors.
PLDT is the Philippines’ largest integrated telecommunications provider with one of the largest market capitalizations of companies listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange. Winning bidders ISOC edotco Towers, Inc. and Comworks Infratech Corp., subsidiaries of edotco Group and EdgePoint, are both backed by international investor groups with specialties in telecom and digital infrastructure.
Under the terms of the sale and purchase agreement, signed April 19, 2022, ISOC edotco Towers, Inc. will acquire 2,973 towers and Comworks Infratech Corp. will acquire 2,934 towers. Smart has also entered into a 10-year leaseback for the sold towers and committed to building an additional 1,500 towers in the interim period. The transaction makes edotco Group and EdgePoint the largest common tower operators in the Philippines.
“We’re proud to represent PLDT on its new partnership with these experienced international tower groups,” said Hong Kong-based Global Corporate Group partner Andrew Whan. “edotco Group and EdgePoint’s innovative and efficient best practices will help PLDT bring a more resilient, efficient network to an expanding domestic customer base.”
Singapore-based Global Capital Markets Group partner Giles Kennedy added: “This marquee international investment in the Philippines’ communications infrastructure reflects strong investor confidence in the country’s growth potential. We look forward to working with both domestic and international parties on these innovative arrangements driving the Philippines’ economic development.”
The Milbank deal team was led by Mr. Whan, Mr. Kennedy, Hong Kong-based partner James Grandolfo and Singapore-based special counsel Terrence O’Donnell (Global Capital Markets Group) with assistance from associates in the Hong Kong-based Global Corporate Group and the Singapore-based Global Capital Markets Group.