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Millicom swoops for Paraguayan football rights-holder

Swedish telecommunications company Millicom announced the acquisition of Paraguayan pay-television operator Cablevisión, which owns the rights to Paraguay’s top-tier football league via its sports broadcaster Teledeportes.

Cablevisión is currently controlled by Argentinian media group Grupo Clarín, but Millicom has agreed a deal to acquire 100 per cent of the company for an enterprise value of $150 million (€119 million). Millicom said completion of the acquisition is subject to regulatory approval, which are expected by the end of the year.

The announcement comes after the Paraguayan government entered into negotiations with Grupo Clarín to buy Cablevisión in February. Teledeportes extended its contract for the rights to Paraguayan Primera Division football in July 2011. The new eight-year deal will commence in 2013 and is worth about $60 million.

Millicom said the acquisition of Cablevisión is consistent with its strategy to accelerate the adoption of fixed broadband services in Paraguay where attractive mobile-based services have been offered since 1992. Cablevisión covered 470,000 households and had 116,000 cable-television customers by the end of 2011, with close to 10 per cent of them subscribing to fixed broadband services.

Mikael Grahne, Millicom chief executive, said: “For the past 20 years, Paraguay has been a test-bed for us when it comes to offering innovative services. With today’s deal, we aim to accelerate our entry into broadband at home, offering relevant services to customers in the communication, information and entertainment categories.”