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C&W Buys Columbus for $3B

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- Columbus International Inc. ("Columbus") has reached a conditional agreement, subject to customary regulatory approvals, to be acquired by Cable & Wireless Communications PLC ("CWC"). The proposed acquisition, valued at US$3.025bn, will enable the combined company to significantly accelerate growth, improve service delivery to customers in the region, offer customers a more comprehensive portfolio of high-quality products and services, and strengthen its position against larger competitors. The increased scale and capabilities of the combined company will provide the technical platform and financial capacity to help enable the combined company to drive greater innovation and expand its 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 ever-growing data needs along with new video capabilities.

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. Similarly, 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$1.05billion Project Marlin capital investment program. Additionally, CWC believes that the combination of the two businesses will generate material operating cost and capital expenditure synergies.

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

Cable & Wireless Communications

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