Bouygues Telecom and Cellnex to Invest €1 Billion in a National Fiber Optic Network in France

March 10, 2020

Paris office represents Bouygues Telecom on a strategic joint venture with Cellnex Telecom to deploy a national fiber optic network in France to provide mobile and fixed fiber based connectivity and accelerate the roll-out of 5G.

Willkie’s Paris office is advising Bouygues Telecom on a strategic joint venture with Cellnex Telecom aimed at financing, deploying, owning and operating a national fiber optic network. The purpose of this project is to roll out a multi-service scalable and dense transport and distribution fiber network across France.

The SPV will purchase from Bouygues Telecom a portion of its existing optical fiber infrastructure network and engage Bouygues Telecom on an exclusive basis for the design and roll-out of the new optical fiber infrastructure network. In turn, Bouygues Telecom will enter into a 30-year wholesale commercial agreement with the SPV with a commitment to purchase approximately 70% of the network capacity. The remaining capacity will be available for sale to third parties.

Planned investment up to 2027 stands at €1 billion, which will be used to roll out a network of up to 31,500 km., interconnecting the telecommunications rooftops and towers providing service to Bouygues Telecom with the network of “metropolitan offices” for housing data processing centres (Edge Computing).

Bouygues Telecom has selected Cellnex France Groupe (a subsidiary of Cellnex Telecom) to become a 51% shareholder in the SPV.

Willkie is involved in all aspects of the project development (which includes identifying the majority partner, drafting the project documents, negotiating with the majority partner, creating the structure, among other things) and financing (negotiation of the financing and related finance documents) on a non-recourse project finance basis.

The Willkie team is led by partners Amir Jahanguiri and Thierry Laloum and includes associates Antoine Bouzanquet and Maryon Demoulin.