Sutel approves LLA-backed Cabletica-Movistar merger

2 Jun 2021

Costa Rica’s Superintendency of Telecommunications (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, Sutel) has approved the proposed takeover of Telefonica Costa Rica (Movistar) by Liberty Latin America (LLA)-backed ISP Cabletica. As per the regulator’s statement: ‘The technical analysis determined that this concentration does not generate negative effects or affect healthy competition.’ Sutel’s analysis will now be sent to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications (Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnologia y Telecomunicaciones, MICITT) for further scrutiny.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUdate, in July 2020 LLA entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Movistar from Madrid-based Telefonica in an all-cash transaction valued at USD500 million. LLA – which already owned local cableco Cabletica – entered the fray when Millicom International Cellular (MIC) abandoned its own long-winded takeover attempt. Millicom agreed to pay EUR503.0 million (USD570.7 million) for Movistar in February 2019, but terminated the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) on 1 May 2020, citing a lack of progress. While the Millicom transaction was approved by Sutel in September 2019, additional regulatory approvals were not forthcoming.