(Bloomberg) -- Phoenix Tower International has agreed to buy Cellnex Telecom SA’s Irish business for about €971 million ($1.1 billion) as the Spanish tower operator looks for ways to streamline its operations and pay down debt. 

The deal, which must still be approved by regulators, will help Cellnex reach its goal of gaining an investment grade rating from S&P by the end of the year, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. 

The deal is the first large divestment since Cellnex shifted its strategy to cutting leverage, after years of buying assets. Chief Executive Officer Marco Patuano, who joined in June to execute on the new strategy, had announced he planned to pull out of countries where the company doesn’t have clear growth opportunities. 

In September, Cellnex sold a stake in its Nordics business, where Patuano sees an opportunity to take part in consolidation in the future.

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