A number of potential buyers have shown interest in purchasing stakes in Vodafone's Vantage Towers business unit.

That is according to reports from Bloomberg, which notes interest from American Towers, Cellnex, Brookfield Asset Management, and Digital Bridge Group.

Mobile tower
– Getty Images

Interest in Vantage Towers will be welcome news for Vodafone, which has been long trying to spin off its telco tower assets, as the operator looks to ease its debt pile, which sits at £36 billion ($38.34bn). Its phone mast division is estimated to be worth £12bn ($12.78bn).

Vantage Towers operates 83,000 towers across 10 European countries, with Germany its biggest market.

Its Vantage Towers unit was floated on the Frankfurt stock market last year, as Vodafone CEO Nick Read pushed for a deal that would have seen Vantage and Deutsche Telekom's mast divisions merge.

Deutsche instead opted for a deal with US and Canadian buyers, which turned out to be Brookfield Asset Management and Digital Bridge Group, with an agreement reached for a controlling stake of Deutsche's GD Towers business for €17.5 billion ($17.5 billion).

A potential bid from Brookfield Asset Management and Digital Bridge Group could be a joint one, with both parties expressing interest in Vantage Towers, notes Bloomberg.

Vodafone is keen to sell close to half of its 82 percent holding of Vantage Towers as part of a co-control deal, says a report from This Is Money.

Other potential buyers linked to a deal have included KKR, Global Infrastructure Partners, and Swedish investment firm EQT.

Voda slimming down

Vodafone has made no secret of its intentions to streamline its business, with the operator selling its Hungarian business unit for $1.8bn in August. The company has also recently sold off its Egyptian unit to Vodacom (in which it owns a large stake), and is reportedly in talks to sell its Ghana business to Telecel Group.

Vodafone has previously sold off some of its operations in New Zealand, Malta, and Qatar, and has held discussions to sell its remaining 21 percent stake in Indian infrastructure firm Indus Towers.

Meanwhile, in the UK the operator has long been linked to a merger with Three UK, which is part of CK Hutchison. Last week French businessman Xavier Niel scooped a 2.5 percent stake in Vodafone Group through his investment vehicle Atlas Investissement, and is keen on consolidation opportunities.

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