French billionaire Xavier Niel has recently raised his stake in Millicom International Cellular (MIC) to 24.18 percent, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on May 25, 2023. Niel, who is also the owner of Iliad, initially secured a 6.99 percent stake in the company through Atlas Investissement on October 27, 2022. However, the entire stake is now held by his holding company, Atlas Luxco.
Niel's Growing Stake: From 6.99 to 24.18 Percent
The filing indicates that Atlas Luxco currently holds 41,406,070 Swedish Depositary Receipts (SDRs), which can be exchanged for common shares of Millicom. The exchange rate is set at one SDR for one share, with a value of USD 1.50 per share. With this increase in stake, Xavier Niel's ownership in Millicom has reached 24.18 percent.
This is not the first time Xavier Niel has boosted his ownership in the Luxembourg-based telecommunications firm. In February 2023, he already increased his stake in Millicom to 19.6 percent. Niel's continued investment in Millicom highlights his confidence in the company's prospects and his strategic interest in the Latin American telecommunications market.
Millicom, which operates its Tigo-branded operations in Latin America, offers both fixed and mobile telecommunications services across the region. The company plays a significant role in connecting communities and driving digital transformation in Central and South America.
Millicom's Tower Carve-out: Formation of Lati
The company, in its earnings release Q1 2023, stated that Operating expenses increased 3.4 percent year-on-year, mostly due to USD 15 million in organizational restructuring costs related to Project Everest, and costs associated with the buyout discussions and the planned Tigo Money and tower (LATI) carve-outs, as well as the non-cash impact of a higher stock price on share-based compensation."
In another development, according to multiple media reports, Millicom has successfully completed the separation of its towers into a separate entity named Lati. Lati now takes charge of owning and operating approximately 10,500 towers spread across eight markets in Central and South America. This strategic move aims to streamline Millicom's operations and unlock additional value for the company.
Xavier Niel's increased stake in Millicom, coupled with the establishment of Lati as a separate tower company, signifies the ongoing transformations and strategic initiatives taking place within Millicom.