Michael Forde (Internet image.)
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Increased efforts are on to find a buyer for the fibre infrastructure Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) has been mandated to offload to a new market entrant in Barbados.
In March, when it issued its decision on CWC’s acquisition of and merger with Columbus International, the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) issued 14 conditions, including that the amalgamated entity to had to section off and divest fibre infrastructure to 55 000 homes that overlapped the previously competing LIME and FLOW networks.
And in July when LIME was phased out and the FLOW brand maintained, CWC’s chief executive officer Phil Bentley said the company had received 14 expressions of interest from local and foreign entities interested in purchasing the overlapping network, but that the process was ongoing.
In the latest news on the process, given in its Conversations With The FTC contribution published on page 15 of this edition, FTC director of Fair Competition, Antonio Thompson, said that with the 180 day deadline for CWC to find a buyer having elapsed on September 23, Michael Forde, the trustee the regulator appointed recently, was now involved in the effort to sell.
“The merged company has so far complied with the requirements set out in the merger decision - the deadline dates for the divested assets to be vested in a holding company were met, with the chosen company being CWC-Columbus Asset Holdings Inc.; an independent valuation of the assets was submitted to the Commission within the timeline set;and a trustee was appointed to monitor the ongoing management of the said holding company,” Thompson explained.
“...On [September 23] the trustee joined the effort to find a buyer for the fibre assets. This means that anyone with an interest in purchasing the fibre assets, even those who would have shown an interest before the trustee became involved in the purchasing aspect, can contact the trustee directly. It should be noted that Cable & Wireless also remains actively involved in finding a buyer for the assets.”
As trustee, Forde is “responsible for monitoring the ongoing management of the divested assets in order to ensure that the remain intact and made available for sale”.
In its merger decision, the FTC said “the responsibility lies with the merged entity to find a suitable buyer that has the economic and technical capacity to maintain a viable network”. It also mandated that “the company(ies) interested in acquiring the divested assets must be approved by the commission before divestment occurs”.