BT sells Spanish fibre network to private equity company

Created December 23, 2019
News and Business

BT has reached an agreement for the sale of its Spanish managed ICT services business, including its domestic network infrastructure in the country, to funds managed by Portobello Capital. Assets in the transaction include a 5,600km owned and leased optical fibre network, fully-owned city fibre networks in Barcelona and Madrid and three data centres.

The sale, said BT, is part of the ongoing transformation of its Global unit, which is focused on delivering next generation networking, cloud and security services to multinational customers. BT says it will retain a presence in Spain with offices in Madrid and Barcelona, network access points to connect to its global network and continuing to operate its cyber security operations centre in Spain.

In addition, through a wholesale agreement, BT will continue to have access to the Spanish domestic infrastructure. The Spanish business will also become a reseller of BT’s global products under a resale agreement.

The Spanish operation, which will be led by members of the current management team, provides networking services to around 600 major enterprises, including “most” of the IBEX-35 index companies, said BT. It generated around £230 million (about €270 million) in revenue in the 2018/19 financial year.

Bas Burger, CEO of Global, BT, said, “This is another key milestone in the execution of our strategy to make Global a more agile and customer-focused business. The transaction is great for BT, for our people and for our customers.”

He said, “Through agreements with the Spanish business, the deal provides continuity to both our multinational and local customers. It also enables us to focus on what we do best, providing secure connectivity and digital solutions to multinational companies globally.”

Luis Peñarrocha, a founding partner of Portobello Capital, said, “We are very pleased to invest in one of the leading providers of managed telecoms services to the corporate market in Spain. We look forward to continued investment in the development of the business for the benefit of new and existing customers in the region.”

Founded in 2010, Portobello Capital is a private equity firm based in Spain that invests in Southern Europe. It currently has 15 companies in its portfolio. The value of the BT acquisition has not been disclosed. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020.

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This article was written
by Antony Savvas

Antony Savvas is a global technology journalist covering the key trends in the communications industry, and was there at the beginning of mobile business and ICT convergence, the move to the cloud and now digital transformation