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British multinational telco Cable & Wireless Communications CWC) and cable MSO Liberty Global have confirmed they are in discussions regarding a possible shares and cash offer for CWC. Under British takeover rules, the company has until November 19 to decide whether to make a formal bid for Cable & Wireless.
In a regulatory Statement, CWC said: “Shareholders are advised to take no action. There can be no certainty that any firm offer will be made nor as to the terms on which any firm offer might be made.”
The deal, valued at £3.7 billion (€5.1.bn) if completed, would broaden John Malone-owned Liberty Global’s presence in the Caribbean and Latin America. Malone already has a 13 p,er cent stake in the company. Cable & Wireless provides pay-TV, broadband, mobile and traditional land line telephone services in the Caribbean, Monaco, Panama and the Seychelles.
Malone’s interest could signify a switch of regional focus for Liberty Global following recent M&A activity in Europe which has seen it buy UK quad-play operator and Dutch cablecom Ziggo. Liberty Global also held talks with cellco Vodafone regarding a potential asset swap. Vodafone confirmed on September 28 that discussions had terminated. Virgin Media had been seen as a prime target for Vodafone as it attempts to develop a quad-play offering better to compete with BT and Sky.
Poignantly, CWC’s predecessor, UK consumer-focused operation, owned a number of UK broadband cable franchises in the 1990s prior to the consolidation which saw the emergence of Virgin Media.