In a tale of “strange bedfellows”, we are starting to wonder whether Crown Castle and Wireless Capital Partners are working together. A letter that Crown Castle is sending out to its landowners warns of the pitfalls of dealing with various lease buyout companies. However, the letter has one noticeable buyout company not included in the list- Wireless Capital Partners. We assume that this is because Crown Castle and Wireless Capital Partners have come to an agreement whereby they have coordinated their efforts to negotiate lease buyouts.
We could see where this might make sense for Crown Castle. Because of the rigidity of their proposals for buying out their lease agreements, they typically must buy a perpetual easement. However, some landowners are rightfully scared of selling anything in perpetuity. That’s where we assume Wireless Capital Partners come in- they offer their “non-recourse loan” for a shorter term purchase. The offer is less than Crown’s offer, but the landowner doesn’t have a perpetual easement on their property either to Crown.
So why should the landowner care? Because Crown Castle would not be working with Wireless Capital Partners unless they had something to gain from Wireless Capital. This gain might come at the disadvantage of the landowner. We surmise (but don’t know) that Wireless Capital Partners has committed to Crown Castle that they won’t increase the lease rates at the expiration of the purchased Crown Castle lease agreement. How does this negatively impact the landowner? Because as part of the WCP agreement, the landowner gives WCP the right to negotiate an extension to lease even if the extension is for a period greater than the amount of time granted in the non recourse loan. So WCP could bind the landowner to an extension of the lease that benefits WCP and Crown Castle, but is significantly undervalued as compared to what the landowner could get if he/she were aware of the value of his/her property to Crown at the expiration of the WCP non-recourse loan.
In our opinion, this “partnership” is not improper provided that WCP discloses any such relationship with Crown Castle to the landowner prior to any purchase of a lease agreement. If Wireless Capital doesn’t disclose, than the landowner might end up selling to WCP without knowledge of what they are giving up.
If you have been approached by Wireless Capital Partners regarding purchasing a Crown Castle lease agreement, speak with your attorney to fully understand what rights you are giving up. Ask them what WCP’s intentions are at the expiration of the current lease agreement. If you need help understanding the actual value of the lease buyout or what the lease should be worth after the purchased term, contact Steel in the Air.
If you have found this post while searching for Crown Castle’s or Wireless Capital Partner’s websites- please note that Steel in the Air is not affiliated with either entity. You can find more information about Crown Castle at http://www.crowncastle.com/ or for Wireless Capital Partners at www .wirelesscapital.com.