June 17, 2020 / 7:06 AM / 15 days ago

Abu Dhabi's sovereign fund boosts Cellnex stake after ending pact with Benetton family

MADRID, June 17 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund raised its stake in Spanish mobile phone tower operator Cellnex after it had broken a shareholders pact with the Benetton family and Singapore’s sovereign fund last month.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority raised its stake in Cellnex to 6.97% on June 10, the Spanish stock market regulator said in a filing on Tuesday. The fund had said last month it owned 6.73% in Cellnex.

Italy’s Benetton family and the two sovereign funds announced last month they would break the shareholders pact that allowed them to control 29.9% in Cellnex.

After the operation, the Benettons would hold 16.45% in the telecom company and the two funds would each own 6.73%, the three investors said.

The Benettons and the Singapore fund have not announced any change in their respective holdings in Cellnex.

Spun off from Spanish infrastructure operator Abertis in 2015, Cellnex has expanded quickly and now has a market capitalisation of close to 20 billion euros ($22.56 billion), making it the eighth largest company on the IBEX 35 blue-chip index.

Cellnex has bought tens of thousands of phone towers across Europe in the past few years and now controls more than 50,000 sites. It is seen as a key player in a potential consolidation of the European telecoms infrastructure market.

$1 = 0.8865 euros Reporting by Inti Landauro and Joanna Jonczyk-Gwizdala

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