SOURCE: Columbus International

Columbus International

November 06, 2014 13:15 ET

Columbus International Inc. Agrees to Terms of Acquisition by CWC

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS--(Marketwired - Nov 6, 2014) -  Columbus International Inc.

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 International Inc. ("Columbus") has reached a conditional agreement, subject to customary regulatory approvals, to be acquired by Cable & Wireless Communications PLC ("CWC"). The proposed acquisition, valued at US$3.025bn, 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.

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

About Columbus International Inc.

Columbus International Inc. is a privately held diversified telecommunications company based in Barbados. The Company provides digital cable television, broadband Internet and digital landline telephony in Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. 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 centre services throughout 42 countries in the greater Caribbean, Central American and Andean region. Through its fully protected, ringed submarine fibre optic network spanning more than 42,300 km and its 38,000 km terrestrial fibre and coaxial network, Columbus' 3,150 plus professionals provide advanced telecom services to a diverse residential and corporate client base of over 700,000 customers. 

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About Cable & Wireless Communications

Cable & Wireless Communications Plc (CWC) is a full-service communications provider operating in 16 countries throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Operating four leading businesses: - Cable and Wireless Panama, LIME, (the Caribbean excluding The Bahamas), BTC (The Bahamas) and Cable and Wireless Seychelles; CWC offers mobile, broadband, TV, domestic and international fixed line services in most of our markets serving over 5.6m customers. CWC also provides premium data centre hosting, telecoms, domestic and international managed data network services and custom IT Service Solutions to businesses and governments through the new unit, Cable & Wireless Business Solutions. Our mission is to grow customer relationships and lifetime value by becoming #1 for Customer Service. We are the market leader in most products they offer and territories they serve.

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