Millicom said it is acquiring a controlling 80% stake in Cable Onda.
Cable Onda is the largest cable and fixed telecommunications services provider in Panama, Latin America’s fastest-growing economy.
The transaction values 100% of Cable Onda at an enterprise value of $1,460 million, with a cash consideration of approximately $1,002 million (subject to customary adjustments). The selling shareholders will retain a 20% equity stake in the company.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and consent from Cable Onda’s bondholders, and it is expected to close by year-end 2018. Cable Onda is the leader in Panama’s broadband internet, pay-TV, fixed telephony and B2B telecommunications markets, serving more than 500,000 customers using mostly its state-ofthe-art Hybrid Fibre-Cable (HFC) network.
For the half-year ended June 30, 2018, Cable Onda generated revenue of $195 million and EBITDA of $83 million, for a margin of 42.4%. Capex for the period was $46 million.
The purchase price implies an EV/EBITDA of 7.9x and an EV/OCF of 14.9x based on 2019 management projections for Cable Onda, which has grown consistently over the last two decades. Management expects that the addition of Cable Onda will positively enhance Millicom’s overall growth. Mauricio Ramos, CEO of Millicom said: “Our acquisition of Cable Onda is consistent with our strategy of accelerating the deployment of high-speed data networks in Central and South America. With the addition of Panama, we now have contiguous country operations from Guatemala to Colombia, which will significantly enhance our B2B capabilities, given the country’s increasingly important role as a business hub for the region. We are excited about expanding to Panama, an investment grade country with a diversified, dollarized, and robust economy. Disposable income levels in Panama are now among the highest in Latin America, yet penetration rates for digital services remain comparatively low. We look forward to working with our strong local partners to extend the company’s market leadership and bring Digital Lifestyle services to even more Panamanians and contribute to the ongoing socio-economic development of the country.”
Nicolás Gonzalez Revilla, CEO of Cable Onda commented: “For the past two decades, the dedicated employees of Cable Onda have built a world-class organization capable of competing, and winning, against some of the largest telecom service providers in the world. This is a true Panamanian success story that we can all be proud of, and this is also something that we have in common with Millicom, the clear leader in most of its markets. We are excited to partner with Millicom for this next step in Cable Onda’s journey.”
Millicom will fund the investment with existing cash resources and new debt, and the company has secured funding commitments from a group of banks to help finance the acquisition. Proforma for the acquisition, Millicom’s proportionate net debt to EBITDA as at June 30, 2018 would have been 2.2x on an underlying basis and 2.5x on a proportionate basis.
As part of the transaction, Millicom and the selling shareholders have entered into a shareholder agreement which, among other items, grants to Millicom the right to acquire and to the selling shareholders the right to sell, the remaining 20% of Cable Onda’s equity.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to Millicom for this transaction.