LIME MONOPOLISES FLOW – Cable and Wireless Communications PLC (CWC) AGREES TO ACQUIRE COLUMBUS INTERNATIONAL INC. TO ACCELERATE GROWTH STRATEGY & DELIVER SUPERIOR CUSTOMER SERVICE

Cable and Wireless Communications PLC (CWC) has reached a conditional agreement to acquire Columbus International Inc. The proposed acquisition, valued at US $3.025 billion will enable the combined company to significantly accelerate their growth strategy, improve service delivery to customers in the region, offer customers a comprehensive portfolio of high-quality products and services, and strengthen their position against larger competitors. The increased scale and capabilities of the combined company will provide the technical platform and financial capacity to help enable CWC to drive greater innovation and expand our 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 evergrowing data needs along with new video capabilities.

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 $1.05 billion Project Marlin capital investment programme.

Additionally, CWC believes that the combination of the two businesses will generate material operating cost and capital expenditure synergies. Similarly, 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.

The combined business will: * Deliver broader pro-consumer product offerings and improved services * 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 premier network platform

The combined business will:
* Deliver broader pro-consumer product offerings and improved services
* 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 premier network platform

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

Phil Bentley, CWC’s Chief Executive Officer said: “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.”

Similarly, Columbus’ chairman and CEO, Brendan Paddick indicated that, “Together we will form a truly world-class company focused on our customers in the Caribbean, Central America and the Andean regions. The proposed acquisition makes both companies stronger, faster and smarter in competing with their 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.”

For both companies, the proposed acquisition also enables greater focus on the Caribbean, Andean and Latin American markets as a region that offers attractive growth. The proposed acquisition will provide new opportunities and focus in Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Peru.

Our goal is to provide customer-focused solutions and the highest level of service across the region. This agreement will accelerate our efforts through a strengthened set of assets and capabilities,” Bentley affirmed.

The recent acquisition of both Groupo Sonitel in Panama, combined with Columbus’ Lazus in acquisition in Colombia will accelerate CWC’s progress against the new streamlined strategy.

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