DigitalBridge is betting a quarter billion dollars on its competitors becoming more profitable

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator


BETTING ON SBA’s SUCCESS – DigitalBridge Group CEO Marc Ganzi, seated, believes that SBA Communications CEO Jeffrey Stoops’ team will continue to add value to SBA as the industry goes through a slow period that is expected following a next generation launch. His belief is backed up by a $61 million shareholder investment. Add in investments in American Tower Corp. and Crown Castle, and DigitalBridge has a $244 million investment in U.S.-based towercos. – Wireless Estimator photo compilation

On Monday, during its second-quarter earnings call, SBA Communications cited a slowdown in U.S. carrier activity, similar to previous announcements by American Tower Corp. and Crown Castle, whose Q2 activity had declined a whopping 50%.

DigitalBridge Group, whose tower arm Vertical Bridge has 11,000 owned and master-leased towers, will release its quarterly report on Friday and takes no comfort in seeing some of Vertical Bridge’s competitors’ depressed earnings. Partially because if the majority of towercos do not exceed expectations it provides a troubling outlook for the industry.

Secondly, DigitalBridge has a vested interest in wanting to see Vertical Bridge’s competitors’ stock rise since they are one of the significant investors in all three companies.

According to their latest SEC filing, Digital Bridge owns 268,428 shares of SBA, representing at yesterday’s close a $61,228,426 investment. Their smaller investment in Crown Castle of 137,820 shares totals $14,919,015.

Their American Tower Corp. investment is more than SBA and Crown Castle combined, with 877,836 shares representing $167,877,356.

Their towerco investment yesterday totaled $244,024,798. With trading lower today in the three companies, at noon, their investment was down $2,875,556 to $241,149,242. The full list of securities filed with the SEC is available here.

During the Q2 call, SBA President and CEO Jeffrey Stoops said that the company had landed a new five-year master lease agreement with AT&T.

“We posted good financial results for the second quarter, exceeding estimates and our own expectations,” Stoops said in a statement. “Customer activity varied by region, with U.S. customers a little less active in the aggregate with their wireless networks than we expected, and international customers a little more active in the aggregate than we expected.”

Stoops said that the slowdown in U.S. 5G builds is following the normal investment cycle that occurs with each new generation. He anticipates many years of increased activity for capacity building and coverage completion.