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November 6, 2014

CWC sets sights on Latin America with Columbus buyout

Agrees to buy the privately owned telecoms provider for $1.85bn

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) is to expand into the Caribbean and Latin America market, after agreeing to buy privately owned telecoms provider Columbus International for $1.85bn.

The British group, formed in 2010 when it demerged from Cable & Wireless, said it will assume about $1.2bn in net debt from Columbus’s balance sheet, which was $1.17bn in June 2014.

CWC, which reported revenues of $848m in its latest quarter, said it would place new shares of nearly 10% of its capital to help fund the deal.

The acquisition is expected to accelerate C&W’s progress towards its strategic goals as well as earnings in the second year.

"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," C&W’s CEO Phil Bentley commented.

"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 transaction that transforms CWC, providing a step-change in growth and returns. Columbus offers complementary TV, Broadband and B2B capabilities in complementary markets.

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Columbus, which is backed by cable TV billionaire John Malone and has around 700,000 residential customers, provides triple-play cable TV, telephony and broadband over its own fibre network in the Caribbean., Central America and Andean region.

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