The Board of Cable & Wireless Communications Plc (“CWC” or the “Company”) today announces that it has agreed terms to acquire Columbus International Inc (“Columbus”) for consideration of approximately USD1.85bn (for 100 per cent. of the equity). In addition, CWC will assume Columbus’ existing net debt as part of the Acquisition, which was USD1.17bn as at 30 June 2014.
In May of this year, CWC announced its new strategy to investors, outlining four key areas of focus: Drive Mobile Leadership; Accelerate Fixed-Mobile Convergence; Reinforce TV Offer; and Grow B2B/B2G business. This strategy is underpinned by the announced USD1.05bn Project Marlin capital investment programme. CWC’s strategy is in line with wider industry trends, where convergence of fixed and mobile networks, increasing content consumption, and significant traffic growth is driving requirements for high bandwidth fixed line networks and TV capabilities. Operators in Europe and the US, as well as CWC’s competitors, are therefore seeking to build and acquire fixed line (terrestrial and submarine) networks that are best able to handle ever-growing data needs along with new TV capabilities. The Acquisition is therefore in line with CWC’s strategy and consistent with broader industry trends.
The Acquisition will create an Enlarged Group with greater regional presence, scale and scope with assets and capabilities that the Board believes will reinforce and accelerate the realisation across each of CWC’s four areas of strategic focus, as set out earlier this year.
Columbus is a privately-owned diversified telecommunications and technology services company, based in Barbados, with approximately 700,000 residential customers in the Caribbean, Central America and the Andean region. In the Caribbean, it is one of the leading providers of triple-play cable TV and broadband enabled services over its proprietary fibre optic network infrastructure. Through its wholly owned subsidiary, Columbus Networks,
Columbus provides backhaul connectivity to 42 countries in the region, as well as capacity and IT services, corporate data solutions and data centre services throughout the Caribbean, Central America and the Andean region. Columbus also provides next generation connectivity and IT solutions, managed networking and cloud-based services under the brand Columbus Business Solutions. For the year ended 31 December 2013, Columbus had revenue of USD505m with EBITDA of USD216m and total operating profit of USD104m. For the six months ended 30 June 2014, Columbus had revenue of USD284m with EBITDA of USD118m and total operating profit of USD48m. Columbus has enjoyed significant growth in revenue and profits in the past few years, and momentum is expected to continue prior to the closing of the transaction.
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