Will Verizon’s Acquisition of Cincinnati Bell Impact My Lease?


Verizon’s Acquisition of Cincinnati Bell’s Spectrum and Assets Will Result in the Termination of Cell Site Leases.

On April 7, Verizon announced that it has finalized a deal with Cincinnati Bell wherein it will purchase all of Cincinnati Bell’s cellular assets and spectrum licenses for $210 million. Cincinnati Bell stated that it intends to shut down its wireless network within the next 8-12 months, and in the interim it will transition its existing GSM customers to Verizon Wireless’s CDMA network – or other carriers.

If you are a building owner with a Cincinnati Bell lease, chances are that the lease will be terminated in 2015. If you are a tower owner with a Cincinnati Bell collocation lease, there is a chance that Verizon will assume the lease and replace the Cincinnati Bell equipment with Verizon equipment.  If you are a landowner party to a Cincinnati Bell ground lease, you are likely safe. This is because Cincinnati Bell already sold most of its towers to American Tower in 2009, at which time the average Cincinnati Bell tower had 2.1 tenants (including Cincinnati Bell). It is likely that American Tower will hold onto the majority of these towers, even after Cincinnati Bell terminates its leases with American Tower, because the towers are shared with other tenants. It’s also possible that new tenants will collocate on the space that Cincinnati Bell vacates. If you are in the process of selling or extending a cell tower ground lease wherein Cincinnati Bell is the original owner or a tenant on the tower, it is probable that your deal terms will be re-traded.

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