Exactly one week after Liberty Cablevision got the go-ahead from the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board to buy OneLink Communications, today the company announced it has closed the $585 million deal.
The announcement came from Liberty Global Inc., which entered into the transaction with investment funds affiliated with Searchlight Capital Partners, L.P.
The companies formed a joint firm Leo Cable LP, which is ultimately 60 percent-owned by Liberty Global and 40 percent-owned by Searchlight.
The newly formed entity that groups Liberty and OneLink in Puerto Rico, represents the largest cable operator on the island with homes passed of approximately 700,000 and revenue generating units approaching 500,000.
Last week, local Liberty officials said it was their intention to get into the OneLink business as soon as possible, to begin reviewing the company and its infrastructure.
“We are looking forward to welcoming OneLink’s customers and employees to Liberty’s family and corporate culture,” said Mauricio Ramos, president of Liberty Global Latin America, a division of Liberty Global. “We carry out our operations with a great deal of transparency, creating an environment where participation and innovation go hand in hand. We encourage our customers and employees to feel free to contribute their ideas, observations and worries so we can offer better service.”
OneLink clients gradually will have access to many other improved products and service upgrades throughout 2013, including new channels, higher data speed, competitive voice, data and cable bundles and advanced equipment.
OneLink customers will be able to experience Liberty’s product offerings and features, which currently include Internet speeds of up to 30 Mbps for downloads and 2 Mbps for uploads; more than 78 high definition (HD) channels, up to 352 channels overall; a better balance of English and Spanish language programming; improved customer service and bundles combining video, high-speed Internet and unlimited island wide digital telephony service at highly attractive rates.
“In download speed tests compiled by netindex.com last month, the average data speed performance among all ISP’s in Puerto Rico was 4.4 Mbps; Liberty’s performance is more than double that, with average speed of close to 9 Mbps – higher than any other residential ISP on the island. With data speed capabilities like these, Liberty customers will be able to enjoy technological innovations that will help improve and simplify their digital lives and elevate the quality of the entertainment that they receive at home,” said Naji Khoury, managing director for Liberty Puerto Rico.
Liberty will enhance the infrastructure of the combined company to offer market-leading digital services with advanced equipment and more HD programming.
Liberty also will upgrade OneLink’s Internet network from DOCSIS 2.0 to DOCSIS 3.0 to offer consistently higher speeds and will expand its fiber optic network into areas covered by the OneLink franchises to enable future innovation and strengthen its product leadership position.
“We are aware of the competitive nature of this industry, but we are certain that our hybrid fiber and coaxial networks can provide an unsurpassed level of speed and service. It is a very reliable network capable of delivering the speeds and features that our consumers want and expect,” Khoury added.
OneLink’s customers should continue contacting OneLink’s phone numbers and visiting its customer service offices until further changes are announced. Should they have any questions, they may call (787) 250-7780 or access the Noticias Liberty section of the Liberty Internet page www.libertypr.com. Liberty customers also should continue communicating through Liberty’s current customer service numbers and offices.
“This investment is proof that our company is committed to Puerto Rico, and we are focused on bringing high-speed Internet access to more areas and helping to close the digital divide. We also are committed to helping advance Puerto Rico’s Broadband Initiative Plan, which we are already ahead of by two years,” said Khoury.
LionTree Advisors and Scotiabank acted as financial advisors to Leo Cable LP and certain of its affiliates in this transaction.