British telecom giant Cable & Wireless has agreed to acquire Columbus International for US$1.85 billion in a deal that will make it the dominant telecommunication services provider in the Caribbean.
Barbados-based Columbus is believed to be the largest submarine telecom capacity vendor in all of Latin America. Its main source of revenue is the sub-sea fiber optic cable network that it built linking the Caribbean with Central America and the United States.
Offering a range of telecom services, including high-speed internet access and IP telephony, Columbus serves approximately 700,000 residential service subscribers in the Caribbean, Central America and the Andean region.
The acquisition of Columbus has surprised analysts, because the telecom capacity vendor had grown significantly by acquiring smaller competitors one after another. Bahamas-based telecom wholesaler New World Network was the first rival it bought outside of North America.
Columbus has since bought Karib Cable and recently it acquired Colombian telecom re-seller Lazus.
Columbus posted revenue of $505 million in 2013. It operates under the brand name of ‘Flow’ in Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, Curacao, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and ‘Karib Cable’ in Antigua.
Columbus also provides next generation connectivity and IT solutions, managed networking and cloud-based services under the brand Columbus Business Solutions.
Cable & Wireless is also one of Columbus’ clients in the Caribbean. The two firms had even signed a partnership agreement to build 42,000 km cable network connecting 42 countries in the Latin America region.