Crown Castle (CCI) rose 7% early Friday after the wireless tower company agreed to buy 17.7 million common shares back from big investors for $600 million in cash.

The company said it will buy the stock from funds tied to Fortress Investment, Greenhill Capital Partners and Abrams Capital. The deal is in lieu of the stockholders' right to require Crown Castle to do a marketed secondary offering within 90 days after the Global Signal deal. The stockholders will retain their registration and other rights with regards to the remaining Crown Castle shares they received in the merger.

The price of the shares to be purchased was based on a 1% discount to the trailing five-day average of the closing price of Crown Castle shares as of Thursday.

"This sale is consistent with the current objectives of the private investment funds that hold these shares and, as such, we have no immediate plans to further reduce our ownership in Crown Castle," said Fortress' Wesley R. Edens. "I believe Crown Castle is uniquely positioned to support the growth of the wireless industry as carriers continue to improve network quality, coverage and capacity. I am very excited about joining the Crown Castle board as we work to deliver long-term value for our shareholders."

Crown Castle intends to fund the purchase of the shares with the proceeds of term loans to be borrowed by its wholly owned subsidiary Crown Castle Operating Company under its credit facility. Crown Castle expects the move to add $45 million to $47 million of annual interest expense.

"We believe the purchase of these shares is consistent with our objective of maximizing long-term recurring cash flow per share," stated John P. Kelly, CEO of Crown Castle. "As evidenced by our most recently completed credit facility and this significant share purchase, we are focused on maintaining an appropriate level of debt leverage and making investments that we believe will help us achieve our long-term goal of growing recurring cash flow per share by 20% to 25% per year."

Pro forma for the purchase described above, Crown Castle has 282.5 million shares of common stock outstanding.

Shares rose $2.45 to $36.91.

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