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Deals & Dealmakers

Wireless infrastructure firm SBA Communications switching to REIT status

SBA Communications Corporation, a company that owns and operates wireless infrastructure, announced that its Board of Directors has authorized conversion to real estate investment trust (REIT) for tax purposes.

SBA intends to elect to be taxed as a REIT commencing with its taxable year ending December 31, 2016.

“We are pleased to announce this plan for conversion because we believe REIT status is the optimal structure for our business given the real estate nature of our assets,” said Jeffrey A. Stoops, SBA’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

“We believe a REIT structure will provide many opportunities for creating long-term shareholder value. We have been working on this plan for approximately two years. We expect our conversion to a REIT to have little to no effect on our operations, as we have been operating in compliance with REIT rules since prior to the beginning of 2016.

“We intend to continue our focus on maximizing long-term adjusted funds from operations per share through growth and disciplined capital allocation.”

In connection with its REIT conversion, SBA proposes to merge with and into a newly formed, wholly owned subsidiary to ensure the adoption of certain charter provisions that implement standard REIT-related ownership limitations and transfer restrictions related to its capital stock.

SBA’s wireless infrastructure includes small cells, indoor/outdoor distributed antenna systems, and traditional cell sites that support antennas used for wireless communication by mobile carriers and wireless broadband providers.

The company operates in two segments, site leasing and site development. SBA Communications Corporation leases antenna space to wireless service providers on towers that it owns or operates; and manages rooftop and tower sites for property owners under various contractual arrangements. As of December 31, 2013, it owned 20,079 towers.

Principal advisors to SBA related to the REIT conversion are Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Greenberg Traurig, P.A.

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