Malone to be­come C&W Share­holder in Caribbean Deal

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By pay-tv chan­nel, Live Na­tion En­ter­tain­ment Inc. and Vi­a­com Inc.

Kris­ten Sch­weizer able & Wire­less Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Plc (CWC) agreed to ac­quire cable TV and In­ter­net provider Colum­bus In­ter­na­tional Inc. to ex­pand in the Caribbean and Cen­tral Amer­ica. The deal also gives bil­lion­aire John Malone a stake in the en­larged company.

Cable & Wire­less will pay $707.5 mil­lion in cash and sell 1.56 bil­lion new shares, as well as raise ad­di­tional debt to fi­nance the $1.85 bil­lion deal, the London-based company said in a state­ment to­day. Malone owns 22 per­cent of Colum­bus through one of his pri­vate com­pa­nies and has amassed an in­ter­na­tional pay-TV em­pire that stretches across coun­tries from Hun­gary to the U.K. to Chile.

“This is a game changer for Cable & Wire­less - it puts us very much back on the map,” Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Phil Bent­ley said on a con­fer­ence

Ccall Thurs­day. “This is a great op­por­tu­nity for us to build scale and be­come the dom­i­nant player in bun­dled TV, in­ter­net and phone ser­vices and business-to-business.”

The trans­ac­tion is ex­pected to add to earn­ings in the sec­ond year after com­ple­tion. Cable & Wire­less will also as­sume Colum­bus’s debt of $1.17 bil­lion as of June 30. Closely held Colum­bus pro­vides broad­band ser­vices in 17 coun­tries through­out the Caribbean, Latin Amer­ica and the Sey­chelles. Colum­bus adds a sig­nif­i­cant pay-TV op­er­a­tion and so-called next-gen­er­a­tion fi­bre net­work to Cable & Wire­less’s ex­ist­ing busi­nesses, Bent­ley said.

Cable & Wire­less fell 6.3 per cent to 45.85 pence at 8:42 a.m. in London, giv­ing the company a mar­ket value of 1.16 bil­lion pounds ($1.9 bil­lion).

Through in­ter­na­tional cable company Lib­erty Global Plc (LBTYA:US), Malone al­ready owns 60 per cent of Caribbean cable and broad­band provider Lib­erty Cable­vi­sion of Puerto Rico LLC. With a net worth of $7.4 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the Bloomberg Billionaires In­dex, Malone also owns Lib­erty In­ter­ac­tive Corp. and Lib­erty Me­dia Corp. which has share in­ter­ests in the Starz

Cable and Wire­less was formed in 2010 in a company split that cre­ated Cable & Wire­less Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Cable & Wire­less World­wide. The lat­ter was ac­quired by Voda­fone Group Plc (VOD) in 2012.

Bil­lion­aire Business Mag­nate John Malone.

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