Liberty Global seals CWC deal to create major player in Latin America, Caribbean

Media company Liberty Global has completed a deal to acquire Cable & Wireless Communications, the London-listed Caribbean telecommunications operator, in an agreement it says will create the leading television, broadband and telecoms firm in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The agreement was first announced in November but closed yesterday (Tuesday). Under the deal, CWC will be combined with Liberty’s existing Latin American and Caribbean group LiLAC. Liberty acquired the operator in a deal valued at around $7.4bn (€6.5bn) on an enterprise value basis.

Liberty said LiLAC is now expected to deliver over $3.5bn in revenue on an annualised basis, becoming the leading platform for further consolidation in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Liberty Global president and chief executive Mike Fries said: “This is a big moment for us and I couldn’t be more excited about the potential of LiLAC and CWC together. We are joining two high-growth businesses in a region that is both underpenetrated and underserved in broadband, mobile data and pay-TV services. By combining our operations, we are creating a unique and well-diversified Latin America and Caribbean investment vehicle, which we believe will enhance long-term equity value for our shareholders.”

CWC operates Flow Sports, the Caribbean pay-television channel which commenced operations in November, providing the region with its first Caribbean-based high-definition sports network.

Flow TV engaged in a rights drive to build up its sports portfolio ahead of the launch of Flow Sports and landed two major contracts in October. Flow acquired exclusive live rights for football’s Fifa World Cup qualifiers in the region and will show coverage of matches from the Concacaf (North and Central America and Caribbean) markets ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Cable & Wireless also agreed a three-season deal for the exclusive rights in the Caribbean to football’s English Premier League. CWC’s deal with the Premier League runs from 2016-17 to 2018-19 and covers 32 Caribbean countries. Flow Sports will be CWC’s key broadcast platform for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.