Liberty Global to sell J:COM interest

By Robert Briel
January 25, 2010 08.56 UK

Liberty Global has announced the sale of its 37.8% ownership interest in Jupiter Telecommunications (better known as J:COM), the Japanese communications provider, to KDDI Corporation, the second largest wireless operator in Japan.

The cash deal covers the Liberty subsidiaries that directly or indirectly hold its interest in J:COM, including LGI/Sumisho Super Media. Additionally, Liberty will retain the right to receive the anticipated final 2009 dividend of ¥490 per share attributable to its interest in J:COM that is expected to be approved at the March 2010 J:COM shareholders meeting. Including both the agreed purchase price and the anticipated dividend, Liberty Global expects to make approximately ¥363 billion ($4.0 billion or €2.83 billion as of January 22, 2010).

Mike Fries, President and Chief Executive Officer of Liberty Global, said in a statement, “Our investment in J:COM and our partnership with Sumitomo over the last 15 years have both been extremely successful and gratifying. The J:COM management team and, in particular Liberty Global executives Miranda Curtis and Graham Hollis, have created a world class operation and substantial value for our shareholders. While we pride ourselves on being long-term operators, we have also demonstrated a disciplined and opportunistic approach to rebalancing our business interests globally. 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.”