Negotiations between regional giant Liberty Latin America (LLA) and the government of Curacao on a proposed acquisition of United Telecommunication Services (UTS) are ‘at an advanced stage’ according to sources within the Curacao-based telco cited by the Curacao Chronicle. The local government – yet to publicly decide the size of stake in UTS to relinquish – continues to be advised on the matter by a special commission led by the former director of the Central Bank of Curacao & Sint Maarten, Alberto Romero. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the government of Curacao currently holds an 87.5% stake in fixed and mobile operator UTS (which uses the dual UTS/Chippie brands) while the government of Sint Maarten owns the remainder (12.5%). US-listed LLA – including Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) – was spun off from Liberty Global in December 2017 and operates consumer telecoms networks in 20 countries alongside corporate/wholesale services across the Caribbean and parts of the Americas. LLA’s existing Flow Curacao subsidiary provides triple-play high speed broadband, TV and IP telephony.
According to the local report, the proposed sale of UTS Curacao is separate from merger/sale negotiations at another group division, UTS Sint Maarten, which remains in discussion with Sint Maarten’s telecoms market leader TelEm Group and potentially other would-be strategic partners. Whether or not UTS’ other island branches are included in negotiations has not been disclosed; these units include mobile operations in Bonaire (Chippie Bonaire), Saint-Martin & Saint Barthelemy (UTS Caraibe), Sint Eustatius (Chippie St Eustatius) and Saba (Chippie Saba).