Liberty Latin America (LLA), the regional operator whose backers include US cable billionaire John Malone, is considering the takeover of Telefonica’s businesses in Colombia and Ecuador, people with knowledge of the matter have informed Bloomberg. The companies have already held talks over a potential deal, the sources indicated, and deliberations are ongoing, although there is no certainty that they will result in a transaction.
One hurdle to a deal in Colombia is the local business’s shareholder structure. Telefonica Colombia is 67.5%-owned by Telefonica, while the other 32.5% stake is held by the Colombian government. However, the government is known to be keen to sell its stake in the telco, as a result of the fallout from the heavy fine imposed on the operator in July 2017 for failing to meet the conditions of its original 1994 licence.
TeleGeography notes that LLA has already inked one Latin American deal with Telefonica; in July the company agreed to purchase Telefonica’s Costa Rican unit for USD500 million including debt. That particular transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2021.