BOSTON—American Tower Corp. has closed on its$5.1-billion deal to lease or acquire 11,448 cell phone towers fromVerizon Corp. The acquisition expands the wirelessREIT's portfolio to 40,000-plus cell towers across the US. It'salso the first of two major divestitures of non-core assets announcedconcurrently by Verizon in early February.

Boston-based AMT funded the Verizon transaction with proceedsfrom its concurrent registered public offerings of 25,850,000shares of its common stock and 13,750,000 depositary shares,borrowings under its revolving credit facilities and cash on hand.When the deal was first made public, AMT CEO JimTaiclet called the Verizon portfolio “a unique asset.”

Thanks to what “outstanding design and management by the VerizonWireless network operations team,” Taiclet said last month that theportfolio boasts attributes that will facilitate “robust leasingopportunities.” Among them are average tower heights approaching200 feet, “ample structural capacity and ground space, veryattractive transmission locations with relatively few competingsites, a solid ground lease profile and excellent documentation andtechnical information.”

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.