Crown Castle To Sell $4.8 Billion Worth Of Stock To Help Finance Lightower Purchase

By Tomi Kilgore Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Shares of Crown Castle International Corp. dropped 1.7% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the real estate investment trust announced a public offering of $3.25 billion worth of common shares, and $1.5 billion worth of convertible preferred stock. Based on Tuesday's stock closing price of $96.64, the common share offering would represent about 33.6 million new shares, which would increase the shares outstanding by 9.2%. The company said it plans to grant the underwriters of the offering--Morgan Stanley, BofA Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan Securities--options to buy and additional $325 million of common stock and $150 million of convertible preferred stock. The company plans to use the proceeds from the offerings, as well as additional debt issuances, to finance the Lightower deal. Crown Castle announced late Tuesday a deal to buy LTS Group Holdings (Lightower) for $7.1 billion from Berkshire Partners, Pamlico Capital and other investors. Crown Castle's stock has rallied 11% year to date through Tuesday, while the SPDR Real Estate Select Sector ETF has gained 4.8% and the S&P 500 has advanced 9.9%.

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