Millicom eyes Colombian tie up with UNE

Millicom eyes Colombian tie up with UNE

Emerging markets telco Millicom has entered into exclusive negotiations with Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) to merge telecoms operations in Colombia.

EPM is an industrial and commercial company owned by the municipality of Medellín, Colombia’s second largest city. The company is the largest shareholder in cable and fixed telephony provider UNE.

UNE owns a 25% stake in Colombia Móvil and Millicom owns 50% and one share.

Through the negotiations both companies are evaluating a merger of Millicom’s holding company that owns the 50% stake and UNE to create an integrated telecoms provider.

The move would build on an existing partnership between the two companies, which have been joint owners of Tigo Colombia for the past six years with Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogotá.

UNE has recently been offering mobile services through a roaming agreement with Tigo, and both Millicom and EPM agree a combination of fixed and mobile assets would improve service quality for customers.

“We are pleased to have reached an advanced stage in our discussions with EPM. It underlines a few key principles we are working with at Millicom,” said Hans-Holger Albrecht, president and CEO at Millicom. “The strong combination of mobile and fixed businesses will allow us to move even faster in this direction to the benefit of our customers. We will be able to offer the most entertaining and most innovative products in the future.”

Juan Esteban Calle, CEO of EPM, said he was optimistic about conversations with Millicom and highlighted the opportunities a partnership would bring in accelerating the company’s strategy of becoming the partners of choice for all Colombian regions.

Discussions are expected to conclude in the first half of 2013.

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