Virgin Media parent Liberty Global spins out Latin American business

Liberty Latin America operates in more than 20 countries under various brand names

Liberty Global owner John Malone: holds  a €500 million Irish property portfolio.

Liberty Global owner John Malone: holds a €500 million Irish property portfolio.

 

Liberty Global, the international cable and television group controlled by Irish American billionaire John Malone, has split off its Latin American and Caribbean business into a separate corporate entity.

Following the move, which will be a concern for Denis O’Brien’s Digicel, Liberty Latin American shares will now trade on the Nasdaq.

Liberty Latin America operates in more than 20 countries under a number of brands including VTR, Flow, Liberty, Más Móvil and BTC. It has annual revenues of $3.7 billion (€3.07 billion).

“The split-off of our Latin American and Caribbean operations from Liberty Global will ensure that this new company will have access to the capital and resources necessary to achieve superior financial and strategic growth,” said Liberty Global chief executive Mike Fries.

Pressure on Digicel

The move is likely to add to pressure on Digicel, the telecommunications group owned by businessman Denis O’Brien. The company has been looking to bounce back after booking a $50 million restructuring charge at the end of its last financial year linked to its cost-cutting programme that included reducing its workforce by 25 per cent.

Digicel posted flat earnings in its second financial quarter in November due to the impact of hurricanes Maria and Irma.

Liberty Global, which owns Virgin Media, has been busy in recent weeks. Last month, it announced a new $2 billion share repurchase programme and the sale of its Austrian operations to T-Mobile Austria in a €1.9 billion deal.

The media giant is the world’s largest international TV and broadband company with more than 25 million customers, the majority of whom are in Europe. The company is controlled by Mr Malone, whose net worth is estimated at $8 billion. The media mogul is well-known in Ireland due to his ownership of a €500 million portfolio of Irish property.