Largest Private Tower Company in the U.S. Completes Second Securitization of 2020
BOCA RATON, FLA. (PRWEB) SEPTEMBER 25, 2020
Vertical Bridge REIT, LLC (“Vertical Bridge” or “the Company”), the largest private owner and operator of communications infrastructure and locations in the United States, today announced that it has completed its second successful private asset-backed securitization (ABS) of 2020 with the issuance of $360.5 million of Secured Tower Revenue Notes (“the Notes”). In June, Vertical Bridge issued $534 million of Secured Tower Revenue Notes in the first securitization of a non-traditional or esoteric asset following the ABS market’s shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2016, the Company has completed six securitizations and issued more than $1.7 billion of secured tower revenue notes.
Proceeds from the transaction will be used to refinance Vertical Bridge’s October 2016 securitization, fund its recently announced acquisition of Cumulus Media’s broadcast tower portfolio and fuel company growth. The Notes are collateralized by 636 broadcast tower sites, spanning 47 states, including 381 sites acquired from iHeartMedia in connection with a sale-leaseback transaction in 2015. The portfolio also includes more than 200 sites which Vertical Bridge agreed to acquire from and lease back to Cumulus Media in August of this year. iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media are the two largest radio broadcasters in the U.S.
“Our broadcast portfolio has grown steadily and performed well since acquiring the iHeartMedia towers, and adding the Cumulus Media sites to our portfolio further broadens and diversifies this segment of our business,” said Alex Gellman, Co-Founder and CEO of Vertical Bridge. “Broadcast towers are mission critical for our radio operating partners, as iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media both demonstrated through their respective restructurings – affirming leases and rents. With over 60% of each company’s stations on Vertical Bridge-owned towers, we view both iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media as strategic partners and are thrilled by the strong and rapid recovery of each from the impacts of COVID-19, as well as their strong outlook going forward.”
“Broadcast continues to be an attractive medium to connect audiences and advertisers – 80 percent of listeners are tuning into radio as much as or more than they were prior to the pandemic. In order to optimize their reach, operators need towers with height and location,” said Michael Romaniw, Chief Financial Officer of Vertical Bridge. “The sites in this portfolio are some of the tallest in the country and span rural, suburban and urban areas, making them ideal for reaching radio and TV targets and for additional lease-up opportunities.”
The Notes rank pari passu by tranche with Vertical Bridge’s securitization from November 2018, which was valued at $71.6 million. The Notes were issued in three classes and rated by Morningstar: a $289.5 million tranche, rated A (high); a $39 million tranche, rated A (low); and a $32 million tranche, rated BBB. The Notes have a have a 5-year anticipated repayment date with a 30-year final maturity.
Barclays and Guggenheim Securities served as Joint Bookrunning Managers and Joint Structuring Advisors for the offering.
About Vertical Bridge
Vertical Bridge REIT, LLC is the largest private owner and operator of communications infrastructure and locations in the United States. The Company owns, operates and master leases over 288,000 tower, rooftop, billboard, utility attachment and other site locations in support of wireless network deployments. Based in Boca Raton, Florida, Vertical Bridge was founded in 2014 by key executives from Digital Bridge Holdings, LLC (now part of Digital Colony) and former senior officers of Global Tower Partners. The senior management team at Vertical Bridge has over 200 years of collective experience in tower infrastructure and related sectors. For more information, please visit http://www.verticalbridge.com.