Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico LLC announced Wednesday that affiliates of its indirect majority shareholder, Liberty Global and its indirect minority shareholder, Searchlight Capital Partners, L.P., have entered into an agreement to acquire 100 percent of the parent of Puerto Rico Cable Acquisition Company Inc., which does business as Choice Cable TV.
This transaction is worth approximately $272.5 million, Liberty officials said.
Choice is the largest combined cable TV, Internet and telephony services provider in southern and western Puerto Rico. Its headquarters are located in Ponce and its network covers the municipalities of Quebradillas, Isabela, Aguadilla, Moca, Aguada, Rincón, Añasco, Las Marías, Mayagüez, Hormigueros, Cabo Rojo, San Germán, Lajas, Sabana Grande, Guánica, Yauco, Guayanilla, Adjuntas, Peñuelas, Ponce, Jayuya, Juana Díaz, Villalba, Coamo, Santa Isabel, Salinas, Guayama, Arroyo, Patillas, and Maunabo.
Upon completion of the transaction — expected to in the first half of 2015 — the combined network will reach more than 80 percent of Puerto Rican homes, and the combined business will serve more than 700,000 revenue generating units and generate more than $380 million of annual revenue, Liberty executives said.
“Choice customers will benefit from the Liberty brand, which will provide them access to cutting edge technology and services on par with other markets around the world,” said Naji Khoury, president of Liberty Puerto Rico. “This will also place us in a better position to face our competition on an island-wide basis.”
Mauricio Ramos, president of Liberty Global Latin America said, “The acquisition is a renewed indication of our commitment to Puerto Rico. Our investments since our last acquisition in Puerto Rico have clearly benefited the public, particularly in data speed performance.”
“If the transaction is approved by applicable regulatory agencies and completed, Choice customers will be able to enjoy Liberty Puerto Rico’s product offerings, which include Internet speeds of up to 100 Mbps to download and 4Mbps to upload, [more than] 100 High Definition channels, up to 300 digital channels, an attractive balance of English and Spanish-language programming, plus video, Internet and telephony bundles at competitive prices,” he said.
This transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, including obtaining franchise rights from the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board.
In the meantime, both companies will operate independently. Once the transaction is completed, the new combined business will operate as Liberty Puerto Rico and will launch an educational campaign for Choice customers to keep them informed of the integration process.
If consummated, Liberty would compete head-on with Claro’s IPTV service, and satellite service providers Dish Network and DirecTV.