Free Mobile founder acquires majority stake in Monaco Telecom

International operator group Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) has announced it will divest its 55 per cent stake in Monaco’s sole mobile operator for €321.79m to a private investment firm controlled by the founder and majority shareholder of France’s newest mobile operator Free Mobile, Xavier Niel.

Niel will acquire CWC subsidiary Compagnie Monégasque de Communication; the firm’s holding company for its stake in Monaco Telecom.

Cable & Wireless Communications was formed when Cable & Wireless plc demerged to form two separate companies in 2010; the other being Cable & Wireless Worldwide, which was acquired by operator group Vodafone in 2012.

The firm describes itself as the “go-to player in the Caribbean and Latin America”, where it operates the LIME brand. The divestment suggests that the Monaco Telecom falls outside of its geographic focus.

Monaco Telecom has a fully postpaid subscriber base of 41,863 as of March 2014, according to Informa’s WCIS.

The acquisition comes just weeks after French operator Bouygues Telecom failed in its attempt to acquire local rival SFR; a deal that would have seen Niel’s Free Mobile acquire Bouygues’ mobile network and portfolio of frequencies for “up to €1.8bn”.

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