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An OMERS Infrastructure majority-led consortium, including Allianz Capital Partners (ACP) and AXA IM - Real Assets, acting on behalf of its clients, has entered into an exclusivity agreement with Altice France to acquire a 49.99% stake in SFR FttH, a company to be formed by Altice France which will hold and further develop Altice France’s existing fibre to the home business (FttH) in France. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in Q1 2019.

SFR FttH is a newly incorporated company comprising the 5 million FttH homes in medium and low density areas awarded to Altice France to date. With approximately 1 million homes covered in FttH at year-end and an additional 4 million homes to be rolled out in the medium term, SFR FttH is the largest alternative FttH infrastructure wholesale operator in France.

Philippe Busslinger, Head of Europe for OMERS Infrastructure said: “OMERS partnership with Altice France marks our entry into the attractive telecommunications sector and in the French market. We look forward to working together with Altice to deploy optic fibre infrastructure across French local communities. This partnership will ultimately enable high-speed fibre connectivity to millions of households in France.”

Ralph Berg, OMERS Global Head of Infrastructure, said: “The partnership with Altice fits OMERS Infrastructure’s strategy of acquiring high quality infrastructure businesses that provide essential services, and generate steady cash flows to meet the long term pension commitments of the OMERS plan.”

Christian Fingerle, Chief Investment Officer at ACP said: “The fibre sector plays a vital role in developing France´s digital economy. We are very pleased to support its swift roll-out through our commitment to SFR FttH while delivering solid long-term, risk adjusted returns and further portfolio diversification for our customers.”

Mark Gilligan, Head of Infrastructure Equity at AXA IM - Real Assets, said: “SFR FttH falls squarely within our thesis that high speed internet delivered over optical fibre networks is a household essentiality for the economy of the future. We are therefore delighted to invest on behalf of our clients in this landmark digital infrastructure company alongside aligned long-term partners.”