Crown Castle Buys 150 Wireless Capital Towers

HOUSTON: Crown Castle International Corp. agreed to buy a portfolio of ground lease-related assets from Wireless Capital Partners LLC for about $180 million in cash and the assumption of $320 million in debt, giving the cell-tower company greater control over some of its towers.

Crown Castle expects to acquire about 2,300 ground lease-related assets, including more than 150 related to Crown Castle towers. The assets generate annual cash flow of about $42 million. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.

The acquisition comes less than a month after Crown Castle said it agreed to buy NextG Networks Inc., the largest provider of outdoor distributed antenna systems, from private-equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners. Crown Castle expects to fund the roughly $1 billion NextG deal with debt financing. That deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

In October, Crown Castle said it swung to a third-quarter profit as revenue exceeded analyst expectations and prior-year results were hit by over $100 million in losses on interest rate swaps. It also raised its outlook for the year.

Shares were at $46.25 on Thursday, up 9.1 percent over the past three months.