Liberty Media selling $4 bil J:COM stake

Domestic telecom firm KDDI to become largest shareholder

TOKYO -- Liberty Global is to sell its 37.8% stake in Jupiter Telecommunications, Japan’s leading cable operator, to domestic telecoms outfit KDDI, for 367.1 billion yen ($4 billion) in cash, the companies announced Monday.

The deal will make KDDI the biggest shareholder in J:COM and give it access to the MSO’s 3.275 million subscribers.

KDDI subsidiary “au” is the nation’s second largest wireless network, while J:COM is also a provider of fixed-line, mobile and internet connections, in addition to its core TV business.

J:COM plans to offer 3D programming on a VOD basis by April, and enjoyed modest subscriber growth last year despite the harsh economic conditions.

The 140,000 yen ($15,500) per share price represents a 65% premium on J:COM’s Friday closing price on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

“Exiting the Japanese market at a substantial premium allows us to redirect our capital into more strategic consolidation opportunities in our core markets as well as our ongoing stock buyback initiatives,” said Mike Fries, Liberty Global president and CEO in a statement.
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