Published On: Fri, Nov 7th, 2014

Cable and Wireless to acquire Columbus Communications

cwc_columbusLONDON,  WILLEMSTAD - Cable and Wireless Communications PLC (CWC) has reached a conditional agreement to acquire Columbus International Inc., a privately held diversified telecommunications company based in Barbados.

Columbus provides digital cable television, broadband Internet and digital landline telephony in Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Curacao under the brand name FLOW and in Antigua under the brand name Karib Cable. Columbus also provides next generation connectivity and IT solutions, managed networking and cloud-based services under the brand Columbus Business Solutions. Through its subsidiary, Columbus Networks, the company provides capacity and IP services, corporate data solutions and data center hosting throughout 42 countries in the greater Caribbean, Central American and Andean region.

The proposed acquisition, valued at US$3.025 billion, will enable the combined company significantly to accelerate its growth strategy, improve service delivery to customers in the region, offer customers a comprehensive portfolio of high-quality products and services, and strengthen their position against larger competitors. The increased scale and capabilities of the combined company will provide the technical platform and financial capacity to help enable CWC to drive greater innovation and expand its geographic footprint.

The combination of the two companies is consistent with global industry trends, where convergence of fixed and mobile networks, increasing content consumption growth, and continuing development of online applications are driving requirements for high bandwidth, fixed line networks and TV capabilities.

Operators in Europe and North America, as well as regional competitors, are acquiring and constructing networks that are capable of supporting ever-growing data needs along with new video capabilities.

The proposed combination of CWC’s mobile footprint and existing fixed line infrastructure with Columbus’ pay TV capabilities and next-generation, state-of-the-art fibre networks will significantly expand the product and service offerings for customers and also advance the companies’ quad play ambitions.

The combined business will also deliver the benefits of superior quality network infrastructure, fixed-mobile products and bundles, superior TV content at competitive rates, and a more attractive portfolio of products and services.

Phil Bentley, CWC’s chief executive officer, said: “This is a transaction that transforms CWC, providing a step-change in growth and returns. Columbus offers complementary TV, roadband and B2B capabilities in complementary markets. Together, we will create the best-in-class quad-play offering in the region, delivered on a superior mobile, fibre and subsea network.

“This is a significant opportunity to better serve our customers and improve the ICT infrastructure of the communities in which we operate, whilst accelerating our strategy and delivering materially enhanced returns and synergy benefits.”

Similarly, Columbus’ chairman and CEO, Brendan Paddick indicated, “Together we will form a truly world-class company focused on our customers in the Caribbean, Central America and the Andean regions. The proposed acquisition makes both companies stronger, faster and smarter in competing with their larger competitors.

“The proposed transaction reinforces our commitment to transform connectivity in the region, to increase the attractiveness of the region to investors, to support the growth of the communities we serve by making them more globally accessible and to ensure that our customers always have access to the best products and services available.”

For both companies, the proposed acquisition also enables greater focus on the Caribbean, Andean and Latin American markets as a region that offers attractive growth. The proposed acquisition will provide new opportunities and focus in Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Peru.

“Our goal is to provide customer-focused solutions and the highest level of service across the region. This agreement will accelerate our efforts through a strengthened set of assets and capabilities,” Bentley said.

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