A number of cableco mergers have quietly taken place in Belize in recent months, it has been revealed, with another takeover deal inked this month. Local website Breaking Belize News has reported that Central Television & Internet (which trades as NEXGEN) and Centaur Communications have teamed up to acquire Southern Cable Network (SCN), which is based in Dangriga.
Previously, in November 2021 Central Television & Internet acquired Channel Broadcasting Cable (CBC). CBC was said to be Central’s main competitor in Belize City and along the Western corridor.
Another player, Baymen Cable & Internet shut down on 1 October 2021 and its remaining accounts were duly taken over by Centaur Communications.
The M&A activity means that Centaur and Central are now the country’s dominant cable providers, and their joint acquisition of SCN has raised eyebrows. Centaur, it should be noted, is controlled by the Briceno family, after being founded by Johnny and Jaime Briceno in 1990. Johnny Briceno took office as Prime Minister on 12 November 2020.
When quizzed on the possible ramifications of the merger activity by Love FM, Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Public Utilities and Logistics, commented: ‘The purpose of government is to promote competition, but if they really want to bargain and merge then that is their obligation. Like I said, we are promoting competition in this country and every company has a right to merge, so I don’t think it’ll be a concern for cabinet.’