Caribbean Telecoms: Flow bought out by Cable and Wireless

This to me is not good news for the Internet and competition for the Caribbean. Today LIME (Cable and Wireless) Telecoms company purchased Columbus communications (Parent Company of FLOW providing Internet and Cable). Cable and Wireless is a British Telecoms company which had a foothold in the Caribbean for a long time until Digicel and FLOW came about in the early and mid 2000s.

From the Jamaicaobserver:

CABLE and Wireless Communications Plc (CWC) yesterday said it hoped its acquisition of Columbus Communications International will be finalised by the first quarter of next year and sought to ease anxiety among Flow Jamaica staff about the future of their employment.

“We do know that change comes with some degree of anxiety, and we wish to encourage our teams on both sides to continue with business as usual,” CWC’s Global Director of Communications and Culture Grace Silvera said in response to e-mailed questions from the Jamaica Observer.

“At this time we have not made any decisions around people as a result of the proposed merger. When decisions become clear, we will communicate with everyone in a timely manner and also ensure that we remain transparent and respectful throughout the process,” Silvera added.

Yesterday, nervous staff at Flow Jamaica offices in the Corporate Area admitted that they were worried about their future after CWC, LIME Jamaica’s parent company, announced that it had reached a conditional agreement to acquire Columbus, Flow’s parent company, for US$3.025 billion.

“Well, this has come as a shock to us and all we can do is wait and see and keep our fingers crossed that this will not affect our jobs,” said one employee.

He and his co-workers shared their thoughts on the development, but asked not to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

“When we see this happen, the first thing that comes to mind is what will become of our jobs, but all we can do is wait,” said another employee at the New Kingston branch of the company. Said another employee at the Flow Half-Way-Tree branch: “We received an e-mail about the development and, naturally, it has left us worried about our future.”

News of the acquisition triggered a swift response from LIME Jamaica’s telecoms rival Digicel, which said it was “concerned about the clear and obvious challenges and potential issues posed by such a proposed move from a regulatory and competition perspective”.

Barbados Today Article:

Cable & Wireless Communications Plc (CWC) agreed to acquire cable TV and Internet provider Columbus International Inc. to expand in the Caribbean and Central America. The deal also gives billionaire John Malone a stake in the enlarged company.

Cable & Wireless will pay $707.5 million in cash and sell 1.56 billion new shares, as well as raise additional debt to finance the $1.85 billion deal, the London-based company said in a statement today. Malone owns 22 per cent of Columbus through one of his private companies and has amassed an international pay-TV empire that stretches across countries from Hungary to the U.K. to Chile

I'm sure Cable and Wireless (LIME) isn't popular for its mediocre services provisionally including customer service before Flow (Columbus Communications) became a major alternative Telecoms provider. This move alone does absolute disservice to the Caribbean.

I was going to switch services from that said company. Now LIME bought out a major competitor in the Caribbean this means there is very little hope in this part of the world.


Just had to bring this up.