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Liberty Global buys CWC for $5.3bn

John Malone’s Liberty Global is acquiring Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $5.3 billion (4.9bn).

The purchase extends Malone’s cable empire deeper into Latin America, where he created a tracking stock in July called LiLAC for Liberty Global’s assets in Chile and Puerto Rico. Malone, who spent more than $50 billion the past decade amassing cable companies across Europe, looks to do the same in parts of Latin America, and could spin off that unit in the future.

The acquisition is a “watershed moment” for LiLAC, as it “will add significant scale and management depth to our fast-growing operations in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said. The combined business will serve 10 million video, data, voice and mobile subscribers, he added.

CWC, which also owns a network in the Seychelles, received more than half of its $1.75 billion in revenue last year from Panama and the Caribbean. Malone became a shareholder last year when CWC bought his cable-TV and Internet provider Columbus International. As part of that deal, Malone and the two co-founders of Columbus were given a 36 per cent stake of the combined company.

In a statement, CWC said Liberty Global was an “outstanding custodian of our business” and the enlarged company will “expand consumer and business-to-business services even faster”.

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