Communications Sales & Leasing has made another M&A move, returning to the source for a few more assets eleven months after the original spinoff. This morning they announced a deal with none other than Windstream for tower assets and rights that will give that side of their infrastructure business a significant boost.
From Windstream CS&L be acquiring 32 more towers, the operating rights to 49 towers they already had, and also the rights to construct and operate towers on 1,000 or so properties they own and lease back to Windstream. The wireless carriers currently leasing access to the towers in question will become customers of CS&L.
The 32 additional towers are the main physical asset there of course, but more significant I think is the expanding operating role the company is playing. The pending purchase of PEG Bandwidth is already giving the company a significant operating business on the fiber side, while today's move positions them to do the same on the tower side. The combination of the two assets places CS&L's ambitions squarely within the wireless infrastructure space. While 81 is a relatively small foothold, the rights to build more of it on 1,000 properties suggests they might be looking at small cells to further those ambitions.
The deal cost CS&L $3M in cash and is expected to close in April.