Blackstone-Backed Phoenix Snaps Up 650 Wireless Towers, Analyst Upgrades BX To Buy


Blackstone-backed (BX) Phoenix Tower has signed an agreement with eir to purchase over 650 wireless towers and acquire newly constructed wireless towers over 8 years across Ireland.

This transaction positions Phoenix as the largest tower infrastructure provider in Ireland while materially expanding its growing footprint in Europe. Closing is subject to customary conditions.

Phoenix and Irish telecom company eir have established a long-term partnership whereby eir will occupy the sites for at least twenty years.

“We are excited to partner with eir to deliver improved wireless connectivity to its customers. This deal exemplifies Phoenix’s strategy of entering into growth markets as a partner to top-tier wireless carriers,” said Blackstone’s Jasvinder Khaira. “Phoenix is committed to growing in Europe and finding opportunities to support carriers and usher in the 5G technology revolution.”

Blackstone Tactical Opportunities invested in Phoenix in 2014, and over that time the business has grown to over 8,000 cell towers and related sites across 14 markets.

Shares in BX are trading down 4% on a year-to-date basis, but have gained 6% in the last five days. Most notably, CFRA recently upgraded Blackstone to buy from hold, citing the company’s attractive valuation. “We view positively the secular growth opportunities at Blackstone, evidenced by 2019 asset inflows that topped $134 billion” CFRA said.

“Though near-term results could be uneven amid market uncertainty and volatility, demand for private-equity investments will be fueled by the persistently low interest-rate environment” the firm explained, adding that Blackstone is also poised to deploy its more than $150 billion of unallocated capital in a marketplace where asset values have become more attractive.

Risks are tied to the business cycle in many industries that Blackstone invests in, says CFRA, as well as global macroeconomic risks. “Efforts have been made to simplify Blackstone’s reporting, but it’s a complex company with transparency risks” the firm stated, as it set a price target of $55.

Overall BX scores a cautiously optimistic Moderate Buy consensus with an average analyst price target of $54- which is in-line with current price levels. (See Blackstone stock analysis on TipRanks).

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