Bahrain's Batelco looking to spend $1B in Cable & Wireless telco deal

Bahrain Telecommunications (Batelco) has $1 billion to spend and is looking to use it to buy up Cable & Wireless Communications' (London: CWC.L) assets in Monaco, the Maldives, the Falkland Islands and other island nations.

The two companies said in separate statements that talks are going on, confirming information that three banking and industry sources had told Reuters. The official statements, however, said that there was "no guarantee a deal would be reached."

What's known for sure is that the properties are in play and the players are playing. BNP Paribas and Citigroup are advising Batelco while J.P. Morgan Chase has CWC's ear, the story said. Citi, meanwhile, is leading financing efforts for the transaction, a banker told Reuters.

"Batelco has been keen to do a deal for a while now to address falling home revenue," one of the sources said in the story, adding that the "potential deal to buy CWC assets should give them presence in markets they are not in currently."

Those markets would include Monaco & Islands locations in Maldives, Seychelles and the Falkland Islands and where the telco "offers fixed line, mobile, broadband and television services via brand names like Monaco Telecom, Dhiraaguy in the Maldives and Sure in Britain's Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Monaco and Islands had 543,000 mobile subscribers and 125,000 fixed line subs as of the end of March.

Batelco, meanwhile, has money in the bank and an interest in expanding. It owns Jordanian telecom operator Umniah and holds 25 percent of Yemeni mobile operator Sabafon as well as minority stakes in Internet providers in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

CWC, the British telecoms group operating in the Caribbean, was formed through a Cable & Wireless demerger in 2010.

For more:
- see this Reuters story

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