Categorized | Business, National News

Columbus International Inc. Agrees to Terms of Acquisition by CWC

Columbus International Inc. (“Columbus”) has reached a conditional agreement, subject to customary regulatory approvals, to be acquired by Cable and Wireless Communications PLC (“CWC”).

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

Columbus believes that the combined strengths of both companies will accelerate growth, provide the necessary scale to enhance the customer experience, and help to allow Columbus to achieve its goal to become the “Best service provider” and “Employer of Choice” in the region. Similarly, the combination of the two businesses supports CWC’s new strategy and its four primary areas of focus: Drive Mobile Leadership; Accelerate Fixed-Mobile Convergence; Reinforce TV Offer; and Grow Business to Business and Business to Government sectors. This strategy is underpinned by their announced US$1.05billion Project Marlin capital investment program. Additionally, CWC believes that the combination of the two businesses will generate material operating cost and capital expenditure synergies.

The proposed combination of Columbus’ pay TV capabilities and next-generation, state-of-the-art fibre networks with CWC’s region-leading mobile footprint and existing fixed line infrastructure will significantly expand product and service offerings for customers and also advance CWC’s 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 in the B2B and B2G segments.

The combined business will:
• Deliver broader, pro-consumer product offerings, improved services and service delivery
• Inject state of the art TV and next-generation broadband technology into CWC
• Deliver huge opportunities to the Business and Government sectors
• Provide rapid lead in fixed mobile convergence through a premier network platform

Columbus’ president and CEO Brendan Paddick commented that, “Together we will form a truly world-class company focused on our customers in the Caribbean, Central America and the Andean regions. Combining our businesses makes both companies stronger, faster and smarter in competing with 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.”

According to Phil Bentley, CWC’s Chief Executive Officer: “This is a transaction that transforms CWC, providing a step-change in growth and returns. Columbus offers complementary TV, Broadband 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.”

For both companies, the proposed acquisition will enable greater focus on the Caribbean, Andean and Latin American markets, a region that offers attractive growth.

Citigroup Global Markets Inc., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and RBC Capital Markets, LLC acted as financial advisors to Columbus.

Cox and Palmer acted as lead legal counsel to Columbus, supported by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer together with Mills and Reeve (UK corporate and securities), Patterson Belknap Webb and Tyler (bond and financing) and Bingham McCutchen (USA regulatory).

Written by Jones Bahamas

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