Tue | Dec 1, 2020

Cable & Wireless Jamaica minority owners get buyout offer

Published:Friday | December 29, 2017 | 12:00 AMSteven Jackson


Liberty Global, the ultimate parent company of Cable & Wireless Jamaica, made an offer to acquire all minority shareholding in the listed local entity that trades on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

Liberty is offering $1.45 per share, according to an offer circular issued on Friday to shareholders – a 25 cent premium on that day’s closing price. The offer opened December 29 and closes January 31.

The international telecom aims to acquire three billion CWJ shares, through CWC Cala Holding Limited. CWC Cala and affiliate Kelfenora Limited together hold 82 per cent of CWJ, which trades as Flow Jamaica.

Minority owners of CWJ stock have been lobbying for Liberty to make them an offer, after the company fully acquired CWJ’s former ultimate owner, Cable & Wireless Communications Plc, in 2016.

The issue was taken up by regulator, the Financial Services Commission, which backed the minority owners’ argument that a mandatory offer for all shares should have been made by Liberty, even though the company had acquired ownership of CWJ indirectly.

However that case has been cloaked by legal action, under which the FSC said it was barred from commenting. It’s unclear whether the current offer indicates a resolution of the court case.

CWC Cala asserted that the offer price of $1.45 represents a fair price for the CWJ based on the financial condition of the lossmaking entity. The CWJ stock has traded as high as $1.80 in the past year.