O’Brien Rules Out Digicel IPO For Now as Wipes Tears on Myanmar

Denis O’Brien, the Irish telecommunications billionaire, ruled out selling shares in Digicel Group Ltd. to the public “at the moment.”

“We like to run our company on a private basis,” O’Brien, chairman of Kingston, Jamaica-based Digicel, the Caribbean’s largest phone company, said in an interview with Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg Television. “But we have the best practices of a public company” as Digicel sells bonds in the U.S. and Europe.

O’Brien said the decision by Vodafone Group Plc to sell its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications Inc. for $130 billion was “good news for everybody.”

“It has hit a benchmark and you can see recovery now in the value of mobile phone companies,” said O’Brien. “All the ships rising, as such.”

Digicel is the largest carrier in Haiti, one of its 31 markets in the Caribbean, Central and South America and the South Pacific. In June, the company lost out on a license to expand telecommunications in Myanmar, one of the world’s last remaining untapped markets, even after partnering with billionaire George Soros.

“Obviously, we were crying our eyes out,” said O’Brien.

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