Liberty Global, the world's largest international TV and broadband company, has completed its acquisition of Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) in a transaction valued at approximately US$7.4 billion on an enterprise value basis.
Enterprise value includes the net debt of CWC, the market value ascribed to all classes of Liberty shares and a dividend paid to CWC.
"This is a very exciting day for Liberty Global. We couldn't be more thrilled to be completing this acquisition which is really a combination of two great companies," president and CEO of Liberty Global Mike Fries said yesterday in a conference call to media across the Caribbean and Latin American.
"Cable and Wireless for us was just the perfect fit. The company has a long and storied history. We felt that this was the right time for us to develop scale in our industry given the competitive environment that we operate in and Cable and Wireless offers that."
Commenting on telecommunication penetration across the region, Fries said great potential exists for Liberty Global to add value and increase its footprint.
He said: "If we look at mobile data penetration, or broadband data penetration, or pay TV penetration, or smartphone penetration in Latin America and the Caribbean and we compare it to the US and Europe, it's clear that there's a great opportunity to bring investments and innovation to this region of the world and we're excited to do that."
He said roughly 20 to 25 per cent of Liberty's revenue is invested in the networks and technology part of the business and he sees the same applying across the region with most of the investments targetted towards upgrading the quality of networks.
Fries assured that there will be no major shake-ups or corporate changes in the near to medium term as a result of the acquisition.
Interim CEO of CWC, John Reid, who was also on the call, expressed confidence that CWC's failure to sell its 49 per cent stake in TSTT would not affect the approval of the Liberty acquisition.
On March 12th 2015, the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) made the sale of the CWC stake in TSTT a condition of the regulatory approval of the Colombus Communications merger with CWC.
Reid said: "It needs to be understood that there has not been a lack of effort to divest of that particular asset. We've engaged all the relevant government parties and extended agencies and its an ongoing process that sometimes takes time."
Reid said changes in the political administration had been a factor that hindered the sale of CWC's stake in TSTT.
"We've had government boards changed, we've had regulatory agency boards changed and so that contributes to it taking longer than first anticipated but our expectation is that, based on our continued efforts to dialogue with the various parties, this will not interrupt this process and that we will be given the greenlight to pursue this sale to Liberty Global."