News

Liberty Latin America bids to acquire Millicom

Mauricio Ramos - Millicom.png

Liberty Latin America (LLA), the Latin American division of Liberty Global, has confirmed that it has submitted a proposal to buy Millicom International Cellular SA (Millicom).

In a statement dated 14 January 2019, LLA said that it had submitted a “preliminary, highly-conditional, non-binding proposal regarding a possible transaction” but added that no deal had been agreed or for how much and further comment will follow until a “definitive decision has been made”.

Millicom released a similar statement confirming that it had received a "a preliminary highly conditional non-binding proposal from Liberty Latin America Ltd. in relation

to an offer for all shares of the company" adding that there's no guarantee that a transaction would materialise. 

The news comes as a few days after Millicom began trading on the Nasdaq stock market in the US under the ticker TIGO. At the time Mauricio Ramos (pictured), Millicom’s CEO said that listing its shares in the US was a “logical next step” as the company continues to accelerate its cable expansion and focusing on the Latin America region where most of its peers are listed in the US.

The company has a pre-existing Swedish Depository Receipt (SDR) listing on Nasdaq Stockholm, where its ticker changed to TIGO_SDB once its listing in the US went live.

At the time, Millicom also shared some preliminary information ahead of its full 2018 results due to be published on 7 February 2019. The company experienced a good fourth quarter and expects to close the full year slightly above its guidance range of 2% to 4% for Latam service revenue growth. Latam EBITA growth is also expected to exceed target ending just above 3% and Latam capex will come in at around $950 million or $50 billion below the $1 billion target it set at the start of last year.

As for 2019, Millicom says it will continue to expand its mobile and fixed high-speed data networks as well as customer growth with targets of between 3% to 5% Revenue growth; EBITA growth of between 4% and 6%; with capex set at just above $1 billion.

The decision to bid to for Millicom LLA says is in line with its routine of evaluating all options that “serve the best interests of the Company and its shareholders”.

LLA has been trading as a separate entity since separating from Liberty Global for roughly a year now. The decision to spin off Liberty Global Latin American operations was to ensure that the new company would “have access to the capital and resource necessary to achieve superior financial and strategic growth” explained Mike Fries, executive chairman of Liberty Latin America and CEO of Liberty Global.

During the time of the announcement, Balan Nair was named as chief executive officer of LLA commenting that he saw “significant prospects for long-term growth both organically as well as through strategic M&A” in the region.

Cable & Wireless Communications Limited (C&W) is one of the businesses, along with VTR.com SpA (VTR) and Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico LLC, which now form Liberty Latin America. Speaking exclusively to Capacityabout the split, Paul Scott, president of C&W Networks said the spin off "will not affect the operations of Cable & Wireless Communications."