September 23, 2014 / 11:59 PM / 3 years ago

Verizon hires TAP Advisors to plan sale of assets

(Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc has hired investment bank TAP Advisors LLC to plan a sale of its network’s assets including its cell towers, according to a source familiar with the matter.

A Verizon logo is seen during the International CTIA WIRELESS Conference & Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana May 9, 2012. REUTERS/Sean Gardner

Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo told Reuters on Sept. 17 that Verizon is open to divesting its network’s assets

Verizon was inspired by rival AT&T’s $4.85 billion sale of some of its towers to tower operator Crown Castle (CCI)[CRCST.UL] last year, Shammo said.

A sale or leaseback of the towers similar to AT&T’s deal at $500,000 per site could raise $6 billion in liquidity, Macquarie Securities analyst Kevin Smithen wrote in a note.

“We believe there could be multiple bidders for this asset but believe the potential sale of the last sizeable U.S. tower asset could explain why CCI has not announced a capital return strategy to date,” Smithen said.

The assets for sale would include about 12,000 towers and could be announced by year-end, according to a Bloomberg report.

Reporting by Krishna Chaithanya; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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