Following reports earlier this week, Virgin Media O2 has confirmed it has reached an agreement to sell a 16.67 percent minority stake in its mobile tower joint venture, Cornerstone (CTIL), to GLIL Infrastructure LLP.

In an announcement, the telco said it will receive around £360 million ($436m) in cash once the deal is closed.

Once the transaction is finalized, Virgin Media O2 will retain a 33.33 percent stake in CTIL.

UK telecom towers
– Getty Images

It had been reported earlier this week that the telco entered exclusive talks to sell its stake in Cornerstone to GLIL.

Cornerstone is the UK's largest tower infrastructure company in the UK with 20,000 masts across rural and urban locations. The company has committed to adding expanding this out to a further 1,200 new sites by 2025.

Virgin Media O2, which is owned by Liberty Global and Telefónica after a merger between Virgin Media and O2 in 2021, owns half of Cornerstone, which maintains and operates its mobile infrastructure in the UK.

The other half of the tower firm is owned by Vodafone-backed Vantage Towers.

Virgin Media O2 said it will continue co-controlling Cornerstone, together with Vantage Towers, as the majority shareholder of HoldCo.

The telco added that the deal will not have any impact on its existing commercial network-sharing agreement with Vodafone UK, which sees the duo share radio equipment across certain areas of the country.

“Selling a minority stake in Cornerstone is a logical move for us. We are partially monetizing our tower infrastructure, while retaining operational and strategic co-control in a key asset as we roll out 5G to more of the country and boost 4G connectivity," said Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media O2.

"This deal aligns perfectly with our core infrastructure and capital allocation strategy which sees Virgin Media O2 continue to invest in the UK to expand and upgrade our next-generation fixed and mobile footprints. As a trusted UK-centric investor, GLIL is the best long-term partner for Virgin Media O2 at Cornerstone.”

Virgin Media O2 said it expects the transaction to close in the coming weeks.

A host of telcos have spun off their tower infrastructure of late, notably Vodafone with its Vantage Towers unit and Deutsche Telekom through its GD Towers unit.