The companies that own the towers have found the hard way that when a third party lease buyout company purchases the lease under their tower, tower owners end up paying more rent eventually and they have a harder time getting anything done because there are now two entities that have to consent to changes. For the large tower companies, they have excess cash and need a place to put it. By buying their ground leases, they not only protect their assets (their towers) but they also get to turn an operating expense (lease payments) into a long term capital asset (land rights). The tower companies have historically not dedicated a significant amount of resources to purchasing their ground leases, although that is clearly changing of late. The stock market analysts who cover the tower sector started to question how the tower companies could forecast revenue from towers where they didn’t have the legal right to keep the tower on the property for the long term.
As a result of this questioning, and to protect their valuable assets (towers) while not adding a significant amount of staff, the tower companies have entered into agreements with third party companies who contact landowners on their behalf to purchase the leases. These companies are compensated on a contingency basis in some cases, meaning that they don’t get paid unless the landowner sells the lease.