BBWN Bites: BC Group to Buy Bulgaria's Vivacom for $1.3B
Also today, cable operators beat productivity average, Missouri utility upgrades broadband without upgrading costs, TiVo gives deadline for split, Liberty Global's mixed earnings are in and veterans find a friend (and perhaps a career) in Windstream.
United Group, a Balkan altnet owned by private equity firm BC Partners, said it will buy Bulgarian incumbent Vivacom for a reported €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion), its second big deal since BC Partners bought service provider Tele2, based in Stockholm, in May for €220 million ($242 million). If all goes according to plan, BC Partners expects to close the Vivacom acquisition, which it will finance via new debt and cash, in the second half of 2020.
Cable operator productivity handily beat the overall economy with a major boost in worker productivity, newly released data from the US Department of Labor shows. After dipping to 2.2% output in 2017, cable's productivity almost doubled to 4% in 2018. By comparison, Q3 2019 non-farm work productivity increased to 2.1%, the department's report shows.
Network delivery provider City Utilities of Springfield and TBG Network Services are upgrading the Missouri city's infrastructure at no extra cost to taxpayers. Using work-management software from construction technology firm Render Networks, they are empowering construction crews to accelerate fiber deployment at a lower cost through real-time geospatial data and predictive algorithms to guide the deployment of about 1,000 miles of new fiber to pass about 105,000 premises. The $120 million project will pay for itself because the city will lease excess fiber to CenturyLink, Render Networks said.
Tivo predicts it will become two separate, publicly traded companies by April 2020, CEO Dave Shull said during Thursday's Q3 call. Until then, it will continue business as usual and introduce new products with the goal of doubling its current customer-base of 21 million-plus households served, he said. That includes expanding the available content on TiVo+, its ad-supported video streaming offering. (See TiVo Predicts Spring 2020 Split .)
Cable Industry Doubles Down on Productivity
After a drop in 2017, the cable industry's productivity surged, according to data released on Nov. 8 by the US Department of Labor.
(Chart: US Department of Labor)
Liberty Global Q3 revenue fell to $2.84 billion last quarter, down 3% from 12 months prior, dragged down by both residential and business services. However, the MSO's operating income from continuing operations rose 1.8% a year-over-year basis to $208.8 million. But operating cash flow decreased 5.7%, or 4.1% on a rebased basis, to $1.2 billion. In the UK and Ireland, Liberty's Virgin Media unit lost 52,700 RGUs in Q3, reversing a gain of 105,300 RGUs in the year-earlier period. The company also shed 36,000 RGUs in Belgium and 14,100 RGUs in Switzerland as video subscriber losses continued to mount in both countries. But both nations' subs' losses were smaller than 12 months ago. Central Europe shone brightly, as the MSO's Polish and Slovakian systems combined to net 26,500 RGUs. (See BBWN Bites: Virgin Media's Bundles Lead to Broadband Gains.)
The US Department of Labor honored service provider Windstream with a platinum 2019 HIRE Vets Medallion Program Award for its "leadership in recruiting, employing and retaining military veterans." This is the first year of fully implementing this program; during last year's demo program, Windstream received a gold award. Platinum is the highest level.
Poland Is Calling
Liberty Global's earnings, like its footprint, spanned a range of results -- from positive revenue in Poland (pictured) to less rosy financials in increasingly competitive markets like the UK.
(Photo: Jade Maclean, Pexels)
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana. Like what you read: Sign up for our weekly newsletter.
(Home page art: Pavel Kunitsky, Pexels)
Here's where you can find episode links for 'The Divide,' Light Reading's podcast series featuring conversations with broadband providers and policymakers working to close the digital divide.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will present our Cable Next-Gen Europe conference as a free digital symposium on June 21.
Charter has sparked RDOF work in all 24 states where it won bids. The cable op booked about $19 million in RDOF revenues in Q1, and expects to have about $9 million per month come in over the next ten years.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will stage the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference as a free digital event over two half-days in mid-March.
Launch of 2-Gig and 5-Gig FTTP tiers in 70-plus markets puts more pressure on cable ops to enhance their existing DOCSIS 3.1 network or accelerate their upgrade activity centered on the new DOCSIS 4.0 specs.
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