US-based Liberty Latin America (LLA) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire an 87.5% controlling stake in United Telecommunication Services (UTS), which operates fixed and mobile services in the Caribbean island nations of Curacao, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin, Bonaire, Saint Barthelemy, Sint Eustatius and Saba. Curacao’s government is selling the 87.5% stake for around USD165.4 million (valuing the UTS group at USD189 million). LLA anticipates the transaction will be completed ‘in the coming days’ whilst the remaining 12.5% in UTS held by the government of Sint Maarten is expected to be sold to LLA in due course.
LLA says that as of 31 December 2018 UTS served a total of 134,000 mobile and 101,000 fixed network subscribers, ‘the majority’ located in Curacao (although noting that statistics are based on UTS’ counting policies, subject to change once the newly acquired units are integrated with LLA’s reporting).
Going forward, LLA will integrate UTS Curacao with its existing Flow Curacao division. Balan Nair, CEO of LLA, stated: ‘By consolidating these operations in Curacao, we will form the largest full-service converged telecom operator on the island and create a true national champion, bringing world-class connectivity solutions to our customers on both fixed and mobile networks. In addition, through this acquisition, we are expanding our footprint in the region, allowing us to further leverage our operational scale and unique subsea network.’ NASDAQ-listed LLA operates in over 20 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean under the consumer brands Flow, VTR, Liberty, Mas Movil, BTC and Cabletica, alongside business telecom services, whilst its submarine and terrestrial fibre-optic network connects over 40 markets in the region.