Liberty Global splits off separately quoted Latin American unit

13 December 2017 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


Liberty Global has spun off its Latin America divisions under the new entity Liberty Latin America

The announcement was formally made by Mike Fries, executive chairman of Liberty Latin America and CEO of Liberty Global, who said: "The split-off of our Latin American and Caribbean operations from Liberty Global will ensure that this new company will have access to the capital and resources necessary to achieve superior financial and strategic growth. I have tremendous confidence in Balan Nair’s leadership as well as the world-class board of directors and management team we have put in place."

Mike Fries 250 x 287Adding that "as Liberty Latin America charts its own course going forward, it will continue to benefit from its Liberty Global heritage and will have access to key shared services and expertise across products, technology, procurement and more. The launch of Liberty Latin America is an exciting moment for all shareholders and a clear confirmation of the opportunity for value creation in the Latin American and Caribbean region.”

The business that will form Liberty Latin America include: Cable & Wireless Communications Limited (C&W), VTR.com SpA (VTR) and Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico LLC. 

“Today marks an important milestone for Liberty Latin America as we begin the path forward as an independent company focused squarely on the region, said Balan Nair, president and chief executive officer of Liberty Latin America. "I see tremendous opportunity to bring world-class technology, innovation and scale to our operations, expand our network coverage, and deploy exciting new service offerings to our residential and business customers. In a region that is currently served by a highly fragmented range of operators and with customer penetration rates roughly half of more mature markets, we see significant prospects for long-term growth both organically as well as through strategic M&A.” 

Speaking exclusively to Capacity about the split, Paul Scott, president of C&W Networks said the spin off "will not affect the operations of Cable & Wireless Communications." To read the full interview please click here.

In related news, John Reid CEO of  Liberty Global’s Cable & Wireless Communications is stepping down from his role in early 2018, after the news of the Liberty Latin America company was annouced.

John Reid new 250 x 250Reid came into the C&W group in 2015 when it bought Columbus Communications, which he joined in 2005, and stayed after the Liberty Global acquisition in 2016 – though he was said to be interim CEO. 

Liberty Global has not announced Reid’s successor. It “will be made in due course, and until that time, Reid will remain in the post and will support the transition to new leadership”, said the company.

Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, said: “John has been an exceptional leader for us, steering Cable & Wireless through significant changes and transformation; we have valued John’s dedication and energy and wish him the very best for the future.”

In its statement Liberty Global said that, at Columbus Communications and then with the merger with Cable & Wireless, Reid played a key role in building the region’s leading full service communications and entertainment provider. 

Most recently, it said, he was also instrumental in the integration of C&W with Liberty Global, which is due to deliver $150 million in synergies, as well as readying the company to be part of Liberty Global’s Latin America and Caribbean operation, which is due to be split off next month. 

Liberty Global added: “During his tenure at C&W, Reid has driven the transformation of the business to focus on delivering an unparalleled customer experience leading to improved performance and efficiency, as well as the implementation of growth strategies for the company’s mobile, residential, business and wholesale segments.”

Reid, who joined the industry more than 30 years ago in eastern Canadian cable operator Persona Commununications, said: “With the planned split-off of Liberty Latin America, now is the right time to let new leadership take the business through its exciting next chapter.”

In addition, the unit operates a subsea fibre network connecting over 40 markets throughout the region.