Telecommunication provider Digicel says it is “naturally concerned about the clear and obvious challenges and potential issues posed” by the announced proposed acquisition of Columbus International Inc. by Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC).
Columbus and CWC said in a release on thursdy that the proposed acquisition, valued at US$3.025 billion will enable the combined company to significantly accelerate its growth strategy, improve service delivery to customers in the region, offer customers a comprehensive portfolio of high-quality products and services, and strengthen their position against larger competitors,” the release said.
Digicel, in a separate release, said it notes the announcement but was concerned from a regulatory and competition perspective.
“We are naturally concerned to ensure that this proposed transaction will not result in an uneven playing field in the Caribbean. We look forward to engaging constructively and responsibly with all relevant agencies and bodies to the fullest extent necessary to ensure that fair and vibrant competition is maintained in the Caribbean region, and that the interests of all Caribbean consumers are fully protected,” Digicel Group CEO, Colm Delves said.
Digicel said it understands that the proposed acquisition will require significant regulatory approvals from a number of bodies in the region, including ministerial approvals, approvals from regulatory bodies as well as approvals from certain anti-trust agencies.
“Digicel looks forward to being provided with further details of the proposed transaction so as to allow it to make considered submissions to those bodies as is appropriate and necessary,” the company said in a statement.
“This proposed transaction raises a considerable number of issues for telecommunications regulation and competition generally in the region. The issues that will need to be addressed include such matters as fairness in spectrum allocations, local loop unbundling, price bundling generally, as well as a myriad of other likely issues which will only become apparent once Digicel and other agencies and bodies have been fully appraised of the details of the proposed transaction, and the likely resultant impact on the telecoms market in the region,” the statement said.
Digicel, however, said it is “confident that the proposed transaction will be considered in the context of a transparent and fair process sponsored by the relevant agencies with responsibility for these matters, and that it will be afforded a full and fair opportunity to engage in the approvals process given its status as a major telecommunications provider in the Caribbean region.”