Millicom International Cellular (MIC) has announced that it is acquiring an 80% stake in Cable Onda, the largest cableco in Panama. MIC will pay just over USD1.0 billion for the stake, which gives Cable Onda an enterprise value of around USD1.5 million. The selling shareholders will retain a 20% equity stake in the company. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and consent from Cable Onda’s bondholders and is expected to close by end-2018. Cable Onda is said to be the market leader in Panama’s broadband, pay-TV, fixed telephony and B2B markets, serving more than 500,000 customers using its HFC cable network. For the half-year ended 30 June 2018, Cable Onda generated revenue of USD195 million and EBITDA of USD83 million. CAPEX for the period was USD46 million.
Mauricio Ramos, CEO of Millicom said: ‘Our acquisition of Cable Onda is consistent with our strategy of accelerating the deployment of high speed data networks in Central and South America. With the addition of Panama, we now have contiguous country operations from Guatemala to Colombia, which will significantly enhance our B2B capabilities, given the country’s increasingly important role as a business hub for the region. We are excited about expanding to Panama, an investment grade country with a diversified, dollarized, and robust economy. Disposable income levels in Panama are now among the highest in Latin America, yet penetration rates for digital services remain comparatively low.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in August this year Cable Onda denied reports that it was set to be sold to Liberty Latin America (LLA) in a USD1.2 billion takeover deal, and LLA’s regional rival MIC has now beaten it to a takeover deal.