(Bloomberg) -- Avatel Telecom is close to agreeing an acquisition of a local fiber-optic broadband operator in Spain from Antin Infrastructure Partners SA, people familiar with the matter said.

The Spanish carrier is putting the final touches on a 1 billion-euro ($1 billion) takeover of Lyntia Access, according to the people. A deal is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.

Specialist infrastructure and pensions funds have been piling into fiber broadband in search of stable, long-term returns. The trend has been especially acute in Spain, which has the biggest fiber network in Europe.

Discussions are ongoing and may still be delayed, the people said. Representatives for Avatel and Antin declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Lyntia Access couldn’t immediately comment. 

In the last 12 months, KKR & Co. struck a roughly 1 billion-euro deal for 49% of Reintel, the wholesale fiber operator owned by Spain’s Red Electrica Corp., and Ardian SAS bought another wholesale fiber firm, Adamo. Telefonica SA agreed last month to sell a 45% stake in a newly-created rural fiber unit called Bluevia. 

Like the Telefonica unit, Avatel is largely focused on areas with low population density. The purchase of Lyntia will allow Avatel, one of the biggest fiber operators in rural Spain, to enter the wholesale market.

Antin agreed earlier this year to sell Lyntia Networks, which serves corporate clients, to Axa IM Alts and Swiss Life Asset Managers for about 2 billion euros. Antin initially sought to offload the two Lyntia units together, before deciding to split them up to attract more interest. 

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